Ex-Religious Brother Charged with Rape
Denies Allegations of Abusing 2 Boys in 1970s and '80s
By Maria Cramer
October 28, 2005
The frail-looking former religious brother faced charges of raping two boys yesterday as one of his accusers looked on and sobbed.
Edward Anthony Holmes, 64, softly pleaded not guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to six counts of rape of a child, five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child over 14, and one count of photographing a nude child.
Holmes is accused of raping the children during the 1970s and early 1980s while he was a resident counselor at the now-defunct Nazareth Child Care Center in Jamaica Plain, said Audrey Mark, an assistant district attorney. Holmes was ordered to post $15,000 cash bail and stay away from children under age 16.
One of his two accusers, now a 39-year-old carpenter, sat on the wooden bench in the courtroom, clutching it with his hands and crying loudly. Holmes never looked at him.
"You don't know how hard this is," the man said moments before he entered the courtroom. "The last time I saw him I was 4 feet, 65 pounds."
Asked what was done to him, he responded: "The unthinkable."
Holmes was living in Washington near his family for more than a decade, supporting himself as a secretary for a monastery, said his lawyer, Jeanne Carol. "He maintains his innocence," she said.
Around 1964, Holmes joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, said the Rev. David P. Reid in a telephone interview yesterday. The Roman Catholic community, based in Fairhaven, is under the auspices of the Diocese of Fall River.
Holmes left the community in 2002, Reid, the congregation's provincial, said. He declined to give the reason but said it was not related to the allegations.
"We knew nothing about the allegations until after he had left," Reid said. He said he has known Holmes since the 1960s and described him as a "kind, caring, gentle soul."
"All these alleged actions, they are a shock to us," Reid said.
Prosecutors from Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office began investigating the allegations after the two accusers came forward in 2003. They decided to pursue criminal charges, according to the alleged victim who was present yesterday, after Holmes was named in the $85 million global settlement between the Archdiocese of Boston and sex abuse victims in the summer of 2003.
A grand jury convened in August and voted to indict Holmes last month, said David Procopio, Conley's spokesman. Washington police arrested him last Friday.
Holmes worked at the Nazareth Child Care Center from 1971 to 1985, Mark said. The center, run by the Daughters of Charity, for 121 years served as a residential program for children who needed a place to stay before being placed in foster care. The children were housed in the 10 cottages on the 35-acre property in Jamaica Plain. The center closed in 1985, partly because of financial difficulties, according to an August 1985 Globe article.
During his tenure at the center, Holmes was also a supervisor at one of the cottages, Mark said, adding that he used his position to convince the children that only he had the authority to let them leave, she said.
"He would ensure in that process that the children complied with his sexual demands," she said during the arraignment.
Holmes allegedly began abusing the first accuser, a 10-year-old, in 1976. The abuse continued until 1980, when the child turned 14. He began abusing the second boy, a 9-year-old, in 1977 and stopped in 1983, when the child turned 15, Mark said.
He allegedly photographed the second accuser during the assaults, she said. In 1989, while he was living in Milton, his housemate found numerous photographs of Holmes and a young boy engaged in sexual activity, Mark said.
Maria Cramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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