JAMAICA HILLS—A former brother in a Catholic religious order pleaded guilty Dec. 21 to raping two children repeatedly more than 20 years ago at Moss Hill’s now defunct Nazareth Child Care Center.
Edward Anthony Holmes, 65, will begin serving a five-year sentence on Jan. 8. He also pleaded guilty to creating child pornography—photos of himself having sex with a still-unidentified third teenager.
“Frankly, we may never know how many children Holmes abused,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley in a press statement. “We are confident, however, that he will never have that opportunity again. I dearly hope that these two brave victims can take some comfort in that fact.”
At the time of the crimes, Holmes was “Brother Tony,” a member of the Congregation of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and a resident counselor at the child care center, which served children removed from their homes by the Department of Social Services.
Holmes reportedly coerced his victims, both young boys, by telling them that he had the power to decide whether they would be shipped off to foster homes or kept imprisoned in the child care center. Holmes reportedly would start by sexually assaulting the children, then later coerced them with threats.
The rapes went on for years. One victim was assaulted from 1976 to 1980, from the ages of 10 to 14. The other known victim was assaulted from 1977 through 1983, from the ages of 9 to 15. That victim was first molested shortly after being taken from his family, when Holmes got him in a room on the pretense of offering comfort, according to Conley’s office.
“The facts of this case are so disturbing, and the defendant’s behavior so egregious, that they shock the sensibilities of every adult who cares for children,” Conley said in the statement.
The child care center closed in 1985, with its Pond Street site becoming the Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture.
In 1989, Holmes’ housemate reportedly found a stack of photographs showing Holmes in sexual acts with a third boy who appears to be in his early teens, according to Conley’s office.
Holmes left Massachusetts in 1990 and abandoned the religious order on his own initiative in 2002. His two known victims, whose identities have not been revealed, reported the crimes in 2003. Holmes was arrested last year in Washington, D.C. and had been free on cash bail.
At the time, there was a 15-year statute of limitations on child sexual assault. Holmes could be charged because the limitations period is suspended when a defendant leaves the jurisdiction.
Holmes pleaded guilty to six counts of rape of a child; 10 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child; and one count of posing a child in a state of nudity.
In 1977, at the time of Holmes’ crimes, Rev. John Geoghan of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Forest Hills reportedly repeatedly molested seven children who were parishioners. The Boston Archdiocese settled a victim lawsuit in 1997. Geoghan, who became the face of the archdiocese’s sexual abuse scandal, reportedly went on to molest scores of other children at other churches. He was murdered in prison after being convicted of one count of indecent sexual assault.
A priest at the former Blessed Sacrament Church in Hyde Square reportedly confessed to having sex multiple times with a 16-year-old boy in the church rectory in the early 1990s. That may not have been a crime, but the priest controversially escaped criminal investigation when the archdiocese let him return to his native Australia.