Two accuse ex-Worcester priest of molesting them, lawyer says

By Stephen Kurkjian
Boston Globe
January 8, 1993

The Boston lawyer whose clients alleged sexual abuse by Rev. James R. Porter said yesterday he has been contacted by two persons who say a former Worcester priest molested them in the mid-1960s and by three others who say the priest made improper sexual advances toward them.

Roderick MacLeish Jr. said he is preparing to provide details of the allegations against Rev. David A. Holley, 65, to Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte for possible investigation and prosecution.

Conte said in an interview that his office has already interviewed William L. Schultz of Natick, one of the three who say they were improperly approached by Holley while he was a priest in Boylston, and is considering whether to seek misdemeanor charges against Holley.

Another of MacLeish's clients, Phil Saviano, 40, a native of East Douglas who is now a communications specialist in Boston, said he would contact Conte to charge that Holley had sexually abused him in the early 1960s. "Father Holley forced me and two of my friends to have repeated sexual contact with him," Saviano said in an interview.

Holley, who served in parishes in Worcester and Grafton as well as Boylston and East Douglas during the 1960s, has been accused in civil suits filed in New Mexico in December of sexually molesting 10 youths while assigned to a parish in Alamagordo in the mid-1970s. Holley had been sent to New Mexico to seek treatment for "psychological problems" he had experienced while in Worcester but had been allowed to take on fill-in assignments as a priest at parishes in New Mexico and Texas.

Holley retired as a priest in 1989 and has been living in Denver. After the New Mexico civil suit was filed against him and against the Worcester Diocese, diocesan officials ordered him to seek medical evaluation, which he is now undergoing at St. Luke's Institute in Maryland. He has not commented on the allegations.

Dr. Thomas W. Cannon, an Amarillo, Texas, psychologist, told the Globe yesterday that he had treated Holley for six months in 1985 and 1986 and that Holley had informed him that he had had a persistent problem in making untoward, sexual advances toward young boys.

Cannon said that since the state of Texas does not legally protect conversations between a psychologist and his patient, he did not ask Holley to provide details of any past problems, but that he had informed Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen, head of the Amarillo Diocese, of his concerns on Holley.

Bishop Matthiesen had ordered Holley to seek the counseling from Dr. Cannon after Holley had allegedly made improper advances toward the 16-year-old nephew of a newly ordained priest, the bishop said in a recent interview. Following his counseling, Holley served as a chaplain at Catholic hospitals in Albuquerque and Denver.

MacLeish, who won civil settlements for 68 persons who alleged they had been molested by Father Porter while he was a priest in the 1960s in Fall River, said yesterday that he would be contacting both Conte and the Worcester Diocese on behalf of those who allege they were abused by Holley.

He said he would ask the Worcester Diocese to provide psychological counseling for any of the victims and provide assurances that Holley would not be assigned as a priest again.


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