Man sues Boston archdiocese citing sex abuse at orphanage
BOSTON (AP) — A New York man is suing the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for sexual abuse he says he suffered decades ago at a church-affiliated home for orphaned and foster children.
Andre Jones, who’s 51, said Monday that he was abused in the 1970s by the late Brother Edward Anthony Holmes, a supervisor and counselor at the now-shuttered Nazareth Child Care Center.
Holmes pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of children and other charges in 2006. He was sentenced to five years in prison and died in 2011, said one of Jones’ lawyers, Patrick Noaker.
The Archdiocese of Boston, the fourth-largest archdiocese in the country, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The archdiocese, which calls itself the spiritual home for more than 1.8 million Catholics, became an epicenter of the global Catholic Church sex abuse scandal that exploded in 2002, ignited by reporting from The Boston Globe.
Nationwide, the church has paid roughly $4 billion in settlements since 1950. More than 6,500 clergy members have been accused of abuse, and hundreds have been removed from church work.
Nazareth was a residential program for children removed by the state from their homes and awaiting foster care placement that operated on archdiocese land from the 1800s until around 1988.
Jones, speaking in front of Suffolk County Superior Court on Monday, said he was sent to Nazareth in 1975 at age 8 because his mother was dealing with mental and emotional problems and his father was an abusive alcoholic.
He said Brother Holmes, who was his photography teacher and counselor, sexually assaulted him and other boys multiple times in the center’s photography darkroom, in his home in Fairhaven and on camping trips in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
In the Catholic church, “brothers” are men who have taken the vows of a religious order but are not ordained priests.
Jones, who lived at Nazareth until 1978, said he had been ashamed to step forward all these years. He said he struggled to hold down a steady job, dealt with substance abuse issues and attempted suicide as a result.
“This was my arrested development,” he said, holding a black and white photo of himself as a child. “I’m still looking for this boy.”
Jones, who is represented by the group Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse, said he hopes a jury trial will determine the appropriate compensation. His lawsuit doesn’t specify any monetary damages.
Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represents church sex abuse victims but isn’t affiliated with Jones’ lawsuit, said he’s not surprised at the new allegations.
“Individuals usually can’t come forward and report the sexual abuse until much later in life,” said Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of accusers in Boston and elsewhere, including dozens at Nazareth during Holmes’ tenure. “Their coping mechanisms won’t allow them to.”