Settlement by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico has No Impact on Pending Alamogordo Case
Alamogordo case set for February 2023 not impacted by the recent settlement by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico and administered by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma which approved a $121 million reorganization plan for one of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. as it tries to stem financial losses from clergy abuse claims that date back several decades.
The archdiocese claimed it will remain vigilant in upholding its zero tolerance policy by promptly responding to allegations and cooperating with local authorities.
The global priest abuse scandal has plunged dioceses around the world into bankruptcy and has cost the Roman Catholic Church an estimated $3 billion or more.
Aside from providing monetary payments to nearly 400 claimants, the terms of the settlement in New Mexico require the establishment of a public archive of documents showing how decades of abuse occurred around the state.
The result of nearly four years of legal wrangling, the reorganization plan effectively halted more than three dozens civil lawsuits in state court that alleged abuse of children by clergy and negligence by church hierarchy. Court records show the accusations dated from the 1940s to the 2010s.
The plan calls for the archdiocese, aided by contributions from parishes, to put up $75 million toward the total settlement fund, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Insurance companies agreed to pay $46.5 million.
In a side agreement, five religious orders that faced pending lawsuits will pay an additional $8.4 million to be shared by certain claimants. The orders include the Servants of the Paraclete, which ran a now-defunct treatment center for troubled priests and was accused of furnishing the archdiocese with priests and other clergy who preyed on children and teens.
This case settled has no impact on the pending Alamogordo civil tort case referencing alleged abuse by the late Fr. David Holley against a John Doe while Holley was in Alamogordo in the 1970s will now be heard in February 2023.
The Alamogordo case was originally set to begin in July 2022.
According to court filings, more time was needed for discovery between the parties. Discovery, in the legal senses, means to exchange legal information and facts of the case between opposing attorneys so that all sides can know the facts of a case.
The Alamogordo based suit alleges negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, public nuisance and racketeering by the defendants in the case.
All named defendants have denied wrongdoing and have asked for the case’s dismissal.
There have been four motions for summary judgement regarding the charge of vicarious liability by the plaintiff alone.
The Servants of the Paraclete and the Catholic Dioceses of El Paso and Worcester have also filed motions for summary judgement, according to court records.
The motions for summary judgement are all in reference to the charge of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means that a party is held partially responsible for unlawful actions of another. In this case, the defendants are charged with partial responsibility for Holley’s actions when he was in Alamogordo.
According to court records, Doe’s abuse began in the 1970s where Holley was in Alamogordo.
The home in which Holley lived was located across the street from a school in Alamogordo. The house was owned by the Diocese of El Paso and the St. Jude and Immaculate Conception parishes. At the time, St. Jude Catholic Church was a mission parish under Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
According to the court records, Holley and another priest, Fr. Wilfred Diamond, who also lived in house, showed the plaintiff and other boys pornography before what the complaint terms as “sexual crimes,” were committed.
Other allegations are that Holley took pornographic photos of boys and sexually assaulted them weekly for about three years. The complaint does not indicate the number of victims beyond “John Doe.”
Holley was not assigned to either of the two Catholic parishes in Alamogordo. 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. More details on this pending case will come to light when heard this upcoming February 2023.