Man Is in Year-Long Treatment Program

By J. Harry Jones
San Diego Union-Tribune
March 11, 2005

The former pastor of a Point Loma Roman Catholic church was granted probation yesterday after pleading guilty in February to 10 misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Gary Holtey, 59, was not required to appear in San Diego Superior Court for his sentencing and did not, even though his attorney said he was back in San Diego after having spent the past five months in a sex offender treatment program on the East Coast.

One of the conditions of Holtey's probation requires that he complete a year-long offender program. Deputy City Attorney Timothy Campen said Holtey has already completed 24 weeks of a program approved by the probation department in Silver Spring, Md., and that it is expected he will complete treatment at the same location.

Holtey went on leave from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Academy shortly after federal agents and San Diego police raided his parish office May 6.

At the time of Holtey's guilty plea last month, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said Holtey has been permanently removed from the ministry.

"The Diocese of San Diego will provide for Father Holtey's treatment until it is complete," Chancellor Rodrigo Valdivia said in a statement. "Regardless of what his sentence turns out to be, Mr. Holtey will not again be able to present himself or function as a priest."

Holtey is one of more than 100 people in San Diego and Imperial counties linked to child-porn sites through credit-card transactions in an international investigation.

Agents searched his office and found printouts of child erotica and pornography as well as other computer-generated items.

Holtey told investigators he had looked at child pornography for years on the Internet and directed investigators to material he had collected in a chest of drawers next to his bed, according to court documents.

Holtey could have been sentenced to one year in jail for each of the 10 counts to which he pleaded guilty. Campen said prosecutors were not seeking jail time as long as he got the treatment he needed.

Simple possession of child pornography is a misdemeanor. Felony charges can be filed only if there is evidence someone tried to distribute the material, Campen said.

Another condition of his probation requires Holtey to register as a sex offender wherever he lives.


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