1992 | Worcester Diocese Has No Complaints Against Holley

In Fr. Holley News Reports by PhilSaviano

Former priest served area

TELEGRAM & GAZETTE | December 22, 1992
By Martin Luttrell, staff reporter

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester said it has not heard from anyone alleging they were victims of sexual abuse by former priest David A. Holley while he served in four area parishes during the 1960’s.

But Boston attorney Roderick MacLeish said yesterday that he was contacted Sunday by a man who claims to have been sexually abused by Holley in Massachusetts, but would not comment further, and would not say if the man was one of those mentioned in a report in The Boston Globe yesterday.

MacLeish also declined comment when asked if he would ask the district attorney’s office to become involved.

“I was just engaged Sunday, and I’m just looking into this case,” MacLeish said. “It’s very preliminary fact finding and fact gathering. I hope the Worcester Diocese will cooperate in that.

“The key thing is that the truth needs to come out, no matter what the truth is.”

In the Globe report, Holley is accused by an unnamed 40-year-old man of sexually abusing several boys while serving as assistant pastor at St. Denis Church in East Douglas from 1964 to 1966. Holley also served at St. Philip’s Church in Grafton from 1962 to 1964, St. Mary’s in Boylston from 1966 to 1968 and Our Lady of Fatima Church in Worcester from 1968-1972.

CIVIL SUIT

New Mexico attorney Bruce E. Pasternak filed a civil suit last week against the Worcester Roman Catholic Diocese on behalf of two people allegedly molested by Holley while he was in New Mexico for treatment of pedophilia. The complaint, filed in Albuquerque, seeks a six-member jury trial.

Pasternak said the Worcester Diocese sent Holley to a center run by the Order of Paraclete in 1971 for treatment of pedophilia. During his treatment over several years, Holley periodically was allowed to serve as a fill-in priest at nearby parishes, he said.

Others in New Mexico and Texas have reportedly come forward with similar allegations since the suit was filed, the Globe reported.

Worcester lawyer James G. Reardon, who represents the diocese, said yesterday he had not heard from anybody except the lawyer in New Mexico. He didn’t know where Holley is, but said the diocese requested that he come back to Massachusetts for a medical evaluation.

CHURCH LAW

“Under church law, the church is required to give him aid and assistance,” Reardon said. “It is a fact that he hasn’t been back here” in several years.

He said it is difficult to verify allegations of incidents from more than 24 years ago. “The bishop issued a statement saying if someone believes he or she has been victimized by actions of someone affiliated with the diocese, they should contact the diocese for help.”

“The diocese is now faced with an allegation in New Mexico that allegedly occurred approximately 25 years ago. We have not seen court papers, documents…and at this time, have no knowledge except what I have read in the newspapers.” Reardon said he received a call from a New Mexico lawyer, saying to fly to New Mexico ready to make an out-of-court monetary settlement, and that the lawyer had notified a half-dozen news media before filing the suit.

“He called everyone but the Moscow Evening News to let them know he was going to file suit,” Reardon said.

The Rev. John W. Barrett, director of communications for the diocese, said he had heard of no allegations against Holley while he served in the diocese. Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte said yesterday that his office had received no complaints concerning alleged abuse by Holley.

The Rev. Edward Chalmers, pastor of St. Denis, said he has only been there six months, and did not know anything about Holley. “No one has brought it up,” he said. “I’m sure (the parishioners) are concerned for the people involved.

“It’s a terrible thing, and we all have to deal with it. Maybe more will come out as days go by.”

One parishioner of St. Mary of the Hills in Boylston who was a member of the church in the late 1960’s said she had vague memories of Holley. “I just remember him as being a quiet person,” Beverley Wilson, the parish council secretary said in a telephone interview last night.
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Staff reporters Gary V. Murray and Mary Frain contributed to this report.