A survivor of alleged sexual abuse when he was a child is suing the New Mexico Attorney General's Office for allegedly withholding public records related to credibly accused Catholic priests within the Diocese of Las Cruces.
“For decades the national Catholic Church used New Mexico as a destination to hide pedophile priests, taking advantage of the unique cultural makeup of our communities, including their devoutness," attorney Paul Linnenburger said in a news release.
"The perpetrators and those that sheltered them relied on a vast network of secrecy for too long, and survivors have suffered the consequences. New Mexico was unwillingly made the front line in the sex abuse crisis by the Catholic Church and thus far our civic leaders have thus far failed to provide the support countless survivors here need. It is long since past time for transparency and accountability, and it is sad that a lawsuit was necessary to get it.”
The suit alleged that the New Mexico Attorney General's Office withheld 26,808 pages of records documenting the New Mexico connections to pedophile priests, namely the late Fr. David Holley.
The survivor, referred to as John Doe in the suit, claimed Holley, who was sent to Alamogordo following treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete treatment facility in Albuquerque, molested him on several occasions.
Doe filed a case on March 31, 2020 against several parishes, dioceses and the Servants of the Paraclete alleging each were complicit in the crime as they allowed Holley access to children.
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The case against the dioceses and the Servants of Paraclete alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, public nuisance and racketeering by the defendants in the case.
Doe alleges having been sexually abused by Holley and another priest, the late Fr. Wilfred Diamond in the 1970s.
Holley was convicted of child sexual penetration in the 12th Judicial District Court in 1993.
Holley died in 2008 while serving a sentence of up to 275 years in prison in the 1993 case and Diamond died in 1995.
Holley was a priest originally from the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts. Holley was a patient at Servants of the Paraclete in the early 1970s where he sought treatment for pedophilic behaviors.
He was later sent to Alamogordo to what was then St. Jude Mission Church. It is St. Jude Catholic Parish now.
All defendants have denied allegations.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 9, 2022 and a jury trial is set for July 11, 2022.
Help for victims of child sexual abuse
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, is the oldest and largest support group for those wounded by religious authority figures. Holley victim Phil Saviano who was abused by Holley in Douglas, Massachusetts in the Worcester Diocese in the 1960s, founded the SNAP New England chapter.
Anyone with any knowledge of sexual abuse incidents is advised to call their local police department and then the Diocese of Las Cruces Victim Coordinator Yvonne Bower at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 575-523-7577.
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