A survivor of child sex abuse filed a lawsuit Monday against the Archdiocese of Boston for the repeated abuse he says he suffered while living at a Jamaica Plain center for children that was run by the church.
Andre Jones, 50, who now lives in New York, said he was repeatedly sexually assaulted between the ages of 8 and 11 by Brother Edward Anthony “Tony” Holmes at the Nazareth Child Care and Boarding School, a residential program for children who had been removed from their homes by the state.
In 2005, Holmes pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting two boys at the center. He was sentenced to five years in prison and died six year ago, records show.
According to the complaint filed in Suffolk County Court, the abuse began when Holmes took Jones and two other boys into a photography darkroom and groped the boys and forced them to perform oral sex on him. Jones alleges that he was assaulted for years.
Jones and two other victims who came forward in 2005 said that Holmes told his victims that if they did not perform sexual acts for him, the counselor would relocate the boys to bad homes and forbid them from returning home.
“Myself and the other victims, we would meet in a secret treehouse we built in the woods to talk about how to avoid him, or how to make noises and yell if he tried to hurt us,” Jones said on Monday.
The complaint, filed by attorneys with Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse, alleges that the archdiocese failed to protect the children living at the center, and that as a result of their failure, Jones will continue to be prevented from holding employment due to severe emotional and psychological distress.
The archdiocese said in a prepared statement on Monday that the church, as a matter of practice, does not comment on pending legal matters.
Jones, who has thick scars on his left arm from self-inflicted wounds, said that he had struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse issues for decades, and had attempted suicide multiple times.
“This is where I’m stuck,” he said, holding a picture of himself at 8 years old. “I survived this incident and try to live a somewhat normal life, but it keeps coming back and disrupting my life.”
The eldest of two brothers, Jones was sent to Nazareth after his parents were deemed unfit to care for him. He said his father was an alcoholic who was physically abusive to his mother, and his mother suffered mental and emotional problems.
In an interview Monday, Jones said that after he ran away from Nazareth and told his mother about the abuse he suffered, she complained to the nun in charge of the residential cottage where Jones lived. Jones said that when he returned to the cottage, he was punished by being made to scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush.
He did not come forward earlier, he said, because he had been struggling with homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues. He added that he had been too ashamed for years to tell anyone.
Now he is clean and sober, he said, and hopes to return to school one day to become a nurse. But he knows he still has a long road ahead of him.
“I’m still looking for this little boy,” he said, holding his picture.
Catie Edmondson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @CatieEdmondson.