'A sad thing': Diocese of Las Cruces responds to lawsuit
By Nicole Maxwell
Alamogordo Daily News
May 19, 2020
|Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday, Feb. 16. |
|Alamogordo Daily News coverage of Fr. David Holley's conviction in 1993. Holley was convicted of child sexual penetration. |
|They were accused of sexually abusing children, now they're the priest next door|
Photo by Andrea Brunty
On March 31, a John Doe filed a lawsuit against two churches in Alamogordo, three dioceses including one in Massachusetts and the now defunct Servants of the Paraclete.
The lawsuit alleged the criminal sexual conduct made to Doe between 1972 and 1975 by the late Fr. David Holley was due to negligence on the part of the dioceses mentioned. They include the Diocese of El Paso, Diocese of Las Cruces, both in New Mexico and the Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts.
"We are definitely aware of allegations that (Holley) is a credibly accused priest," Diocese of Las Cruces spokesman Christopher Velasquez said. "It's just a very sad thing and a very disheartening thing."
The suit, filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County, also named Alamogordo's Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish.
Holley was convicted of child sexual penetration in New Mexico's 12th District Court under Judge Robert M. Doughty, II in 1993.
Holley died in 2008.
Several Alamogordo priests accused of molestation
According to lists released by the Diocese of Las Cruces and the Diocese on El Paso, several priests placed in Alamogordo were considered to be credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
Those priests are Bernard Bissonnette, Wilfred Diamond, David Holley, Richard P. Lynch, Frank Sierra, Daniel Barfield, Dennis Fountain and James B. Hay.
All are listed as deceased except for Sierra whose whereabouts and home diocese are listed as unknown.
St. Frances Cabrini School
Alamogordo's local Catholic school was named for Fr. James B. Hay.
Hay passed away in 1974 and is on the list of credibly accused priests on the Diocese if El Paso.
November 2018, the school changed its name to St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School.
The name change had been in the works for at least a year.
The school was established in 1956 under the Immaculate Conception name and the name was changed in honor of Hay after his death, St. Frances Cabrini School Principal Victor Gonzales said.
He did not have an exact year for that change.
Gonzalez said the school was working on its accreditation and sought community input as to what the new name of the school should be and almost everyone was in favor of changing it after St. Frances Cabrini.
Gonzales said only two community members opposed the change because they had both attended school there.
The school name became official in November 2018.
Hay's name appeared on the credibly accused list the following February. Both the Diocese of Las Cruces and St. Frances Cabrini School had no idea at the time that Hay's name would appear on the list.
Anyone with any knowledge of sexual abuse incidents is advised to call the local police department and then the Diocese of Las Cruces Victim Coordinator Yvonne Bower at email@example.com or call 575-523-7577.