Alamogordo clergy sex abuse case moves forward, trial set for July 11

Alamogordo Daily News [Alamogordo NM]

January 21, 2022

By Nicole Maxwell

A motion to drop racketeering charges was denied in a lawsuit filed by a man alleging he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest in Alamogordo in the 1970s. 

The suit was filed by a clergy sexual abuse survivor listed as John Doe who alleged Father David Holley sexually assaulted him while Holley lived in Alamogordo, and sued Servants of the Paraclete’s, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Las CrucesEl Paso and Worcester, Massachusetts and Alamogordo parishes Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish.

On Jan. 18, New Mexico Second Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Ramczyk denied defendant Servants of the Paraclete’s motion to have a count of racketeering dismissed from the case.

The racketeering charge originated from accusations the Church collected monetary offerings and tithes from parishioners that were used to pay for clergy housing including the house where Holley lived in Alamogordo.   

Court records indicate that the case’s jury trial is set to begin July 11, 2022.

“The court finds that the motion is not well-taken and should be denied,” Ramczyk said in the order denying the motion. “Once discovery is completed, defendant may proceed with a motion of summary judgement, if appropriate.”

A motion of summary judgment asks for a judgment between legal parties to be made without a full trial.

Attorneys for the plaintiff said they agreed with the judge’s ruling arguing the Church must be held accountable for its actions. 

“Historically, these claims have been dismissed because of the unique way that racketeering laws are structured,” plaintiff’s attorney Paul Linnenburger said in a news release. “My client was serious about accountability for the institutions that allowed David Holley to abuse him and other children time and time again. And we set out to do just that by really digging into the actions of the Church that made this possible.

“People hear ‘racketeering’ and they think of the mob. Rightfully so, because racketeering usually includes behavior like fraud or promoting criminal behavior. We questioned why the same concepts couldn’t be applied to the Church to fully hold them accountable,” Linnenburger said.

Doe alleged sexual abuse by Holley in the 1970s when Holley was sent to Alamogordo following treatment for pedophilic tendencies at a Servants of the Paraclete facility in Albuquerque.

On March 31, 2020, Doe filed the suit which alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, public nuisance and racketeering by the defendants in the case.

All defendants in the case have denied allegations and have requested dismissal of the case.

Holley was not assigned to either of the two Catholic parishes in Alamogordo.

However, he and Fr. Wilfrid Diamond, were accused of sexual assault when they lived in a house across the street from a Catholic school in Alamogordo, court records state.

Holley was convicted of child sexual penetration in a 12th Judicial District Court in 1993 and died in 2008. Holley was sentenced to up to 275 years in prison in that case.

Diamond died in 1995.

“Due to pending litigation, we are not at liberty to discuss this case, however if anyone has been the victim of abuse from any servant of the church, we urge them to contact law enforcement and our diocesan office of victim’s assistance,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso said in a statement.

On Jan. 12, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, Immaculate Conception Parish of Alamogordo and St. Jude Parish of Alamogordo filed a motion for summary judgement.

The motion for summary judgement asks that all charges be dropped against the three entities because they “were not proper parties in the lawsuit.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces and the two parishes “lacked their own legal status or the capacity to be sued during all time periods which form the basis for Plaintiff’s laundry list of claims in this case,” the motion for summary judgement states.

The parties in the case will have until mid-February 2022 to conduct mediation and until mid-April 2022 to conduct and complete pre-trial discovery, Ramczyk’s order states.

Help for survivors of clergy 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. 

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 or call 575-523-7577.