Holmes: Father Donald Holmes

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Donald L. Holmes

Priest. Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.  Ordained 29 June 1972. 2002 – 16 charges of indecent assault, one of sexual assault and one of gross indecency involving 13 young girls,  some as young as nine   Offences transpired between 1972 and 1984 in parishes in Sturgeon Falls and Sudbury, Ontario.  The Crown did not call a witness regarding the charges of indecent assault and gross indecency hence the jury was told the verdict on those two charges was not guilty. August 2002 – sentenced to two years less a day for 14 counts of indecent assault against 12 victims.

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Bishops of Sault Ste. Marie Diocese since Father Donald Holmes’ ordination :  Alexander Carter  (Coadjutor Bishop: 10 Dec 1956 – Bishop 22 November 1958 – 03 May 1985); Marcel André J. Gervais (03 May 1985 –  13 May 1989  when appointed, Coadjutor Archbishop of Ottawa, Ontario) ; Jean-Louis Plouffe (02 December 1989  –  )

Auxiliary bishops:  Adolphe E. Proulx  (2 Jan 1965 – 28 April 1967 [ also served as Chancellor from 1960 – 1965] ); Roger-Alfred Despatie (20 May 1968 – 8 February 1973); Gérard Dionne ( 29 January 1975 – 23 November 1983);  Bernard Francis Pappin (29 January 1975 – 27 Aug 1998);  Jean-Louis Plouffe (12 Dec 1986 – Bishop 2 Dec 1989);  Paul-André Durocher ( 20 January 1997 – 27 April 2002); Robert Harris 26 October 2002 – 8 May 2007); Brian Joseph Dunn (16 July 2008 – 21 Nov 2009).

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The following dates are drawn from the materials which I have on hand, specifically the Canadian Catholic Church directories (CCCD) of that date, the 1980 Ontario Catholic Directory (OCD) and media (M)

2014, 2012, 2011, 2010:  apartment on Ramsey View Cresc., Sudbury, Ontario (CCCD)

August 2002:  CONVICTED.  Sentenced to two years less a day on 14 counts of indecent assault against 12 victims. (The Crown did not call a witness regarding the charges of indecent assault and gross indecency hence the jury was told by the judge that the verdict on those two charges was not guilty) (M)

Address and phone number for Diocesan Centre in Sudbury, Ontario (Auxiliary Bishop Paul Andre Durocher)  (CCCD)

May 2002:  charged with 16 counts of indecent assault, one of sexual assault and one of gross indecency (M)

2000: sex abuse allegations first surfaced (M)

1998, 1996, 1992: Pastor, St. Jean de Brebeuf RC Church, Sudbury, Ontario (CCCD)

1985-86:  Pastor, St. Ignace RC Church, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (CCCD)

1980:  St. Dominic RC Church, Sudbury, Ontario (OCD)

1972:  ORDAINED (CCCD)

From Matachewan, a community in Northern Ontario near Kirkland Lake

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Church scandal’s next wave: Abused girls

24 April 2010

Mary Ormsby

…………..Father Donald Holmes, a modern cleric who rode a motorcycle, sported a beard, played hockey and preferred street clothes to his Roman collar, also preyed on girls as they began taking bigger roles in the church. He was convicted in 2002 of sexually abusing 12 girls around the Sudbury area between 1972 and 1984………

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Priest found guilty of more groping

Northern Life

 20 March 2006

By Keith Lacey

Two more of Donald Holmes’ victims wiped away tears as the disgraced Roman Catholic priest was found guilty Friday of two counts of sexual assault for incidents which took place in Sault Ste. Marie 15 years ago.

However, Justice Guy Mahaffy agreed with a joint submission from the Crown and the defence that Holmes will not serve any additional jail time on top of a two-year sentence he received two weeks ago.

Holmes, 63, was sentenced to two years less one day Aug. 13 by Justice Louise Gauthier of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice after a jury found him guilty of 14 counts of indecent assault.

Those assaults took place against 12 girls between the ages of nine and 15 when Holmes was a parish priest in Sudbury and Sturgeon Falls between 1972 and 1983.

Two complainants, now in their 20s, made similar allegations against Holmes when he was a parish priest in Sault Ste. Marie in November 1987. Looking pale, extremely tired and sporting a grey suit, Holmes pleaded not guilty to both chareges Friday.

However, defence counsel Andrew Buttazzoni said he accepted an agreed statement of facts submitted by assistant Crown attorney Karen Lische, and added he would not be offering any defence to the court.

Mahaffy sentenced Holmes to a one-year concurrent sentence to time already being served.

But Mahaffy issued a stern warning to Holmes that his crimes were very serious.

“I don’t disagree the sentence should be concurrent,” said the veteran provincial court judge. “But I do agree a conditional sentence would not be appropriate.

At the sentencing hearing to weeks ago, Holmes said he may have used improper judgment, but was innocent of touching, groping or fondling any young girl at any time.

In the agreed statement of facts read into the court record Friday, Lische told the court Holmes worked as a parish priest at a church and school in Sault Ste. Marie in 1987. On consecutive days in November, Holmes was playing with a bunch of children at a public swimming pool, said Lische.

Holmes was playing in the water when he placed one hand between the first complainant’s legs and left it there for several seconds.

Two days later, the girl disclosed to her mother, grandmother and several teachers what had happened, and the Children’s Aid Society and police were contacted.

In a police videotaped statement made last October, the girl, now age 22, told police how she kept trying to get away from Holmes inside the pool, but he kept fondling and groping her.

The next day in the same pool, Holmes was playing with the second complainant, who had just turned nine, when he reached down and slid his hands between her legs, said Lische.

The girl was very upset and the next day told her mother and several teachers what had happened. Once again, the Sault CAS and police were contacted. In her police videotaped statement, the girl, now 24, said Holmes rubbed her private area on top of her bathing suit and and wouldn’t let go for several seconds until she finally broke free.

Both girls changed schools because of these incident.

In December of 1987, police met with Holmes and his lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie and told them while there was insufficient evidence to lay charges at the time, they cautioned Holmes not to indulge in any inappropriate physical contact with young girls, said Lische.

On Jan. 2 of this year, police in Sudbury arrested Holmes in relation to the two complaints in Sault Ste. Marie.

Holmes will now be transferred from the Sudbury District Jail to another Ontario reformatory to begin his sentence.

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Beware of pedophile

The Sudbury Star

30 December 2003

Laura Stradiotto

Greater Sudbury Police are warning the public that a convicted pedophile who has the potential to re-offend has been released and is living in the city.

Donald Holmes is currently living in a home located on Highway 69 North in Val Caron.

A former parish priest, he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and 14 counts of indecent assault involving young female victims.

In August 2002, Holmes was sentenced to two years less a day in prison after he was found guilty on charges of indecent assault by a Sudbury jury earlier that May.

Those offences involved 12 young girls in the 1970s and 1980s at Sturgeon Falls and Sudbury parishes. The incidents involved inappropriate touching, fondling, groping, kissing and hugging. Holmes denied any wrongdoing.

Ten days later, he was found guilty of two sexual assault charges for incidents that dated back to 1987 and involved two girls under the age of 12 in a Sault Ste. Marie community swimming pool.

The one-year sentence for the sexual assault offences was served at the same time as his previous jail sentence.

In a press release, police said they have information that leads them to believe Holmes is at “high risk for committing another serious personal injury offence.”

Police are concerned with public safety in relation to Holmes’ release.

“These grounds are based on identified risk factors associated to Holmes,” said police.

“If these risk factors remain unchanged, then there is a high probability that Holmes will engage in further criminal acts.”

Police would not provide any further information.

Donald Holmes, 65, is 5-foot-9 inches tall and weighs 176 pounds. He has brown eyes, a mustache, short, grey receding hair and wears glasses.

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Jailing of former priest ‘a big victory’ for victims

The Sudbury Star

14  August 2002

Harold Carmichael

The person who took the jail sentence Donald Holmes got the hardest was not Holmes himself, nor several of the victims who were in court for the decision. When court closed, Holmes’ sister, Aline Zickar, erupted in tears and began crying out “Oh my God!, Oh my God!.”

She hugged her brother, told him “I love you,” and kissed him before he was led away in handcuffs. Zickar’s emotional display shocked many of the victims and their supporters as they filed out of the courtroom.

While some people leaving the courtroom muttered such comments as “it’s not enough” or “I don’t believe it,” two of the victims said they were pleased Holmes received a jail term. “It feels great,” said one victim. “At least he will know what it’s like inside (jail). We can finally go on with our lives. It’s a big victory, a big victory.”

Another victim echoed that sentiment. “I’m just happy to get any jail time,” she said. “That’s really significant to us, but it also sends a message to other adult perpetrators and the church community.”

The second victim said she was not surprised that Holmes did not accept responsibility for what he did. “I think it’s a reflection of what (clinical psychologist) Peter Jaffe said yesterday: They won’t take accountability for their actions,” she said.

“He has to maintain, to save face with the people who support him. He’s trying to maintain some sense of self-dignity.” The second victim noted that because of what Holmes did to her, she never went back to her church.

A father of one of the victims said the jail term was not long enough. “I think that the effect it had on the victims, it’s not really reflected in the sentence he received,” he said. “It brings the whole system of justice into disrepute.”

Crown counsel Diana Fuller said she was pleased with Gauthier’s sentencing decision. “A conditional sentence (house arrest) doesn’t recognize the moral blameworthiness,” she said. “It’s very important in terms of the justice system, the sentencing system (that) there has to be some recognition of that.

“It’s one thing to have a momentary lapse of judgment. But here, the moral blameworthiness (is) of a breach of trust. It … involved someone who exploited his position incident after incident, year after year, parish after parish.”

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Priest gets 2 years for sex crimes

The Toronto Globe and Mail

14 August 2002

Keith Lacey

Just moments after he was sentenced in a Sudbury courtroom to almost two years in jail for sex crimes, an unrepentant Catholic priest turned and spoke to his victims.

Donald Holmes, 63, told the women that he had fondled, kissed and rubbed three decades ago that he didn’t commit any crime.

“I still love you as God’s children, daughters and sons,” he said.

Many of the women, who were deeply religious girls aged 9 to 15 when they were abused, gasped.

The priest said he “has prayed and will continue to pray for the jury. I will pray for the Crown attorney, for my accusers.”

Madam Justice Louise Gauthier of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sentenced Father Holmes yesterday to two years less a day for 14 counts of indecent assault against 12 victims.

The priest was suspended by the local Catholic diocese for the rest of his life after he was found guilty of abusing the girls at two Sudbury churches and one in nearby Sturgeon Falls from 1972 to 1983.

The first allegation of sexual impropriety surfaced in 1999. Other complainants then came forward.

Every witness testified that they had admired and trusted Father Holmes, only to have that trust betrayed when he would get them alone to kiss and fondle them.

Defence counsel Andrew Buttazzoni had asked the court to impose a conditional sentence of strict house arrest for up to two years. Assistant Crown attorney Diana Fuller had asked for a penitentiary term of three years.

Judge Gauthier said she considered the 110 letters of support from parishioners, and that Father Holmes is a first-time offender with health problems. However, granting a conditional sentence would send the wrong message she said.

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14 August 2002

Toronto Globe and Mail

Just moments after he was sentenced in a Sudbury courtroom to almost two years in jail for sex crimes, an unrepentant Catholic priest turned and spoke to his victims.

Donald Holmes, 63, told the women that he had fondled, kissed and rubbed three decades ago that he didn’t commit any crime.

“I still love you as God’s children, daughters and sons,” he said.

Many of the women, who were deeply religious girls aged 9 to 15 when they were abused, gasped.

The priest said he “has prayed and will continue to pray for the jury. I will pray for the Crown attorney, for my accusers.”

Madam Justice Louise Gauthier of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sentenced Father Holmes yesterday to two years less a day for 14 counts of indecent assault against 12 victims.

The priest was suspended by the local Catholic diocese for the rest of his life after he was found guilty of abusing the girls at two Sudbury churches and one in nearby Sturgeon Falls from 1972 to 1983.

The first allegation of sexual impropriety surfaced in 1999. Other complainants then came forward.

Every witness testified that they had admired and trusted Father Holmes, only to have that trust betrayed when he would get them alone to kiss and fondle them.

Defence counsel Andrew Buttazzoni had asked the court to impose a conditional sentence of strict house arrest for up to two years. Assistant Crown attorney Diana Fuller had asked for a penitentiary term of three years.

Judge Gauthier said she considered the 110 letters of support from parishioners, and that Father Holmes is a first-time offender with health problems. However, granting a conditional sentence would send the wrong message she said.

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Former Ontario priest sentenced for assaults

CTV News Staff

Date: Tuesday Aug. 13, 2002 8:27 PM ET

A former Roman Catholic priest was sentenced in Sudbury, Ont., Tuesday on 14 counts of indecent assault. Donald Holmes, a native of Kirkland Lake, was sentenced to a jail term of two years less a day for crimes that happened decades ago in Sudbury and Sturgeon Falls.

The judge in the case, Superior Court Justice Louise Gauthier, noted in her sentencing decision that Holmes had no prior criminal record, that the sexual offences were not of a serious nature and the former priest “has, in essence, since the charges were laid, lost everything.”

However, because he abused his position of trust as a priest, a jail term was called for, Gauthier said.

“Donald Holmes had a deep responsibility. He breached that trust in the entire church community,” she said.

During a month-long trial in May, Holmes, 63, was accused of kissing, fondling, and touching 12 girls at two parishes in Sudbury and one in Sturgeon Falls between 1972 and 1983. He was suspended from all church duties after the first allegations in the fall of 1999.

Despite the testimony of his victims and his convictions, Holmes continues to insist he did nothing wrong. On Tuesday, before his sentence was read, Holmes addressed the court to say he’s sorry for the claimants’ pain but can’t apologize for events, he says, that didn’t take place.

“I accept the judge’s decision. (But) I can’t be silent. I do not agree with the verdict,” Holmes said. “I will continue to pray for all involved … To the accusers, many times I said to God I wished I could talk to you. But I was told not to talk to you directly (or) indirectly.”

On Monday, a clinical psychologist who specializes in child abuse took the stand at Holmes’ sentencing hearing. Dr. Peter Jaffe said the best thing that can happen to a childhood sexual abuse victim who comes forward is for the offender to own up to what happened. Crown attorney Diana Fuller told the court that the victims, now adults, will never get such closure because Holmes continues to deny he did anything wrong.

Gauthier said that as a result of what Holmes did, his 12 victims developed such problems as depression, a loss of faith in the church, feelings of shame and embarrassment, suicidal thoughts, strained relationships with parents, and strained marriages.

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Priest denies sex crimes: Father Don Holmes tells trial he did not do anything

Sudbury Star

May 14, 2002

Harold Carmichael.

A Roman Catholic priest took the stand in his own defence Monday at his trial on sex charges.

Don Holmes, 63, who wore his clerical collar for the first time in the six-day trial, denied all of the incidents alleged to have involved young girls in the 1970s and 1980s at Northern Ontario parishes in Sturgeon Falls and Sudbury.

“I never French kissed anyone and I never touched her breasts: never,” said Holmes emphatically, when asked about an alleged incident involving a young girl at St. Dominique Church in Sudbury in the mid-1970s. “That is not true.”

Going into Monday, Holmes was facing a total of 18 charges — 16 of indecent assault, one of sexual assault and one of gross indecency.

But the Crown, in closing its case, did not call a witness concerning acts of gross indecency and indecent assault alleged to have taken place in Sudbury between June 6 and Oct. 31, 1976.

As a result, Superior Court Justice Louise Gauthier told the jury the only verdict it should produce concerning the two charges was not guilty.

Holmes is now facing 16 charges: 15 of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

Holmes, who admitted to being a hugging fanatic, said he would never kiss someone on the mouth, but would instead give a short peck to the cheek or forehead.

Holmes is on a leave of absence from the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and receives a living allowance. He told the court he currently is not allowed to act as a priest.

When asked about two alleged incidents of embracing a young altar girl and kissing while lying on a rectory couch at St. Dominique Church on numerous occasions in the mid-1970s, Holmes said that was not the case.

He said that he and the girl did indeed use the couch, but it was while adding strands of lace to hundreds of wooden crosses he would later give out.

Holmes said he had met “thousands and thousands and thousands” of children in his 30 years as a priest and could not recall the now- grown women involved with several of the charges.

When asked why he would tell young girls they were beautiful, Holmes said it was part of his philosophy on life.

“I have a foundation,” he explained. “Everyone is beautiful. Some are more beautiful than others. Some are more handsome than others.”

When asked if he would have let two young girls sit on his lap on separate occasions in his rectory at Sacre Coeur Church in Sturgeon Falls in the early 1970s, Holmes replied that it would have been painful since he had just had a back operation.

He said the girls might have sat on his knee, but he would never have moved his pelvic area underneath them to arouse himself.

Holmes, a former meatcutter who hails from the tiny Northern Ontario community of Matachewan near Kirkland Lake, also came under fierce cross-examination by Crown counsel Diana Fuller. Fuller charged that Holmes used his position to lure young girls into being alone with him.

“I suggest to you right from your first parish appointment, you abused your position and its privileges for your sexual favours and sexual purposes,” said Fuller.

“I disagree totally,” replied Holmes. “There was never any sexual connotation at any time. Never.”

The trial continues today with Holmes undergoing further cross- examination.

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Priest denies women’s allegations ; Calls charges ‘dehumanizing’

Toronto Star.

May 14, 2002.

Sonia Verma.

For the past week, Rev. Donald Holmes sat next to his lawyer, listening silently as 12 women testified in an emotionally charged courtroom that he sexually abused them as young girls and destroyed their faith in God.

Holmes, 63, no longer has a parish and has been placed on administrative leave by the Roman Catholic Church since allegations of sexual abuse first surfaced two years ago in three parishes in Sudbury and Sturgeon Falls.

He faces 16 counts of indecent assault, one of gross indecency and one of sexual assault for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1972 and 1984.

Throughout the trial, he’s dressed as a civilian, typically wearing dark slacks, a jacket and a tie. But yesterday, in taking the stand for the first time in his own defence, Holmes wore a priest’s collar and vest.

In cross-examination, Crown Attorney Diana Fuller questioned him on his change of attire.

“Can I ask you, Father Holmes, why you chose to wear your pastoral robes today?” she asked, pointing out he has been stripped of his pastoral powers.

“To me it’s a powerful symbol,” Holmes replied. “And it’s my priesthood that’s being attacked.”

“Are you suggesting that we should be treating you differently with the collar on?” Fuller asked.

“It’s up to you,” Holmes said.

During the first week of the trial, the crown has argued that Holmes used his status as a priest to get close to young girls in his parish.

Holmes, who was ordained at the age of 33, offered them candy, pop and compliments to win their trust, the court has heard.

Once he won their confidence, he abused the girls for his own sexual gratification, the crown has alleged. The jury of 11 men and one woman has heard allegations that Holmes fondled and French- kissed girls as young as 9 years old.

“I suggest to you, Father Holmes, you abused your position and took advantage of your position and its expectations for your sexual pleasure,” Fuller said yesterday.

“I disagree,” Holmes said.

He categorically denied each of the allegations and dismissed the testimony of the complainants as “dehumanizing.”

“It really hurt me,” he testified. “I still pray that someday reconciliation will take place.”

Holmes’ testimony continues today at the trial, which is expected to end by next week.

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Priest fondled girl in rectory, court told ; Third witness testifies against ‘trusted’ cleric

Toronto Star

May 8, 2002.

Sonia Verma.

The witness can’t explain why the snapshot, now faded and discoloured from age, was taken.

She kept it tucked away all these years, she doesn’t know why. In the picture, she is 13 years old, but looks much older.

Her hair is long, crimson-coloured and tucked loosely behind her ears. Around her neck hangs a simple wooden cross- a gift, she recalls, from Father Donald Holmes, the priest at her grandmother’s church in Sudbury. She remembers him giving to her before her confirmation.

In the photo, Father Holmes stands close beside her. He’s sporting a full, black beard, tinted glasses, a shirt and a tie. A vague smile plays on his lips.

Yesterday, the photograph became the third exhibit in the trial against Holmes, who has been charged with 16 counts of indecent assault, one count of sexual assault and one count gross indecency. The incidents allegedly took place across three parishes in northern Ontario, in Sudbury and Sturgeon Falls nearly 30 years ago. The witness says the picture was taken shortly after one of those alleged assaults.

She testified in court that Holmes fondled her breast when she visited him at the rectory of St. Jean DeBrebeuf, one of Sudbury’s largest churches. The year was 1976 and she was visiting her grandmother.

She met Holmes in religious classes she attended to prepare for confirmation. The assault happened in the living quarters of the rectory, she testified. “He came from behind me and put his arm around me and as he put his arm around me it came up under my arm and cupped my breast.”

The witness, who may not be named under a publication ban, said she gave Holmes a dirty look and he apologized, dismissing the touch as an “accident.”

“I remember thinking there was no way that was an accident. It surprised me. He was the last person on earth I thought would have done that,” she said.

So far the court has heard from three women who testified that Holmes fondled them when they were schoolgirls. They described him as someone they initially trusted, who made them feel special.

Holmes’ lawyer, Andrew Buttazoni, has argued the women’s testimony is unreliable. He argued there were inconsistencies between their testimony and earlier statements given to the police. Holmes has been placed on administrative leave from the church.

Thirteen women are expected to testify against the priest in the coming weeks.

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Priest fondled girls, trial told ; Three northern parishes involved in 18 charges

Toronto Star.

07 May 2002

Sonia Verma Staff Reporter

The gothic-style church on a quiet residential street where Father Donald Holmes worked burned down after he left, nearly 30 years ago.

The exterior of St. Jean De Brebeuf was rebuilt, but the inside never fully restored.

Before the fire, when Father Holmes worked there as assistant pastor, it was the meeting place for Sudbury’s francophone Catholics. Schoolchildren attended basement dances every Friday night; Bible classes and Sunday mass were routine for generations.

Yesterday, in a courtroom across town, the first of 13 women took the witness stand to testify against Holmes in a trial that has brought allegations of sexual abuse stretching back decades.

Holmes has been charged with 16 counts of indecent assault, one of sexual assault and one of gross indecency. The incidents allegedly took place in three parishes in Northern Ontario, including St. Jean De Brebeuf.

Yesterday, Holmes, now 63, refused to comment on the charges. By diocese policy, he has been placed on administrative leave. Dressed in a slate gray suit and black turtleneck, Holmes sat motionless next to his lawyer as the first two crown witnesses told their stories, breaking down in quiet sobs as they testified in a half- empty courtroom.

“You might ask yourself (whether), since the accused is a priest, that fact might have made the dynamics of the incident more troubling than the physical contact itself,” Crown Attorney Diana Fuller told the jury’s 11 men and one woman.

Holmes’ lawyer urged jurors to be wary of stereotypes.

“Unless you are a rock or a stone, you have to have heard allegations of abuse and cover-ups by the Catholic Church in the news. You have to disregard this. You have to set those matters aside,” Andrew Buttazzoni told jurors.

According to court documents, the alleged incidents took place between 1972 and 1984 in Sudbury and Sturgeon Falls, to the east. They involve schoolgirls now in their 30s and 40s. Madame Justice Louise Gauthier placed a ban on publication of their names.

The crown’s first witness met Holmes in 1972.

“A priest was someone who represented God, who represented the rule,” she said. “It was someone I could tell my deepest secrets to and he would not judge,” she said.

At age 12, she became an altar girl at St. Jean De Brebeuf. She said she would often talk with “Father Don.” “He was someone I could talk to … Someone I could really trust. He made me feel special.”

She testified that several times Holmes, while adjusting her robe and cross, placed his hand on her breasts.

She went on to describe two incidents where, she said, Holmes French-kissed her and touched her breasts when she visited him in the rectory to talk after her grandfather died. She was 13 at the time.

A second witness testified she was too ashamed to tell anyone about times she said Holmes touched her.

She said Holmes would stand behind and press against her so she could feel his erect penis as she practised playing the organ at church. She also testified that Holmes took her and two friends swimming and assaulted her in similar fashion as they played water tag.

Holmes’ lawyer suggested both women were elaborating their memories, focusing on apparent inconsistencies between their court testimony and police statements.

“I’m going to suggest you’re making these things up,” Buttazzoni challenged the first.

“I don’t agree with you sir,” she replied.

The trial continues today.

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Priest’s hearing draws a crowd: Lawyers ask spectators to clear courtroom

The Sudbury Star

05 May 2001

Gordon Kennedy

Defence counsel Andrew Buttazzoni asked spectators to clear the courtroom before a preliminary hearing for a priest charged with more than 50 sex-related offences Friday morning, telling them he would ask the judge to close the court if they did not leave.

“Anyone who is not directly involved with this case, please leave the court,” he told the approximately 20 people who showed up for the beginning of the hearing, which will determine whether Donald Holmes, 62, will stand trial.

He and assistant Crown attorney Diana Fuller explained to some of the onlookers that they wanted to keep the evidence given at the hearing from spreading into the community through word of mouth.

The spectators left, and neither lawyer made an application for a closed court.

Media representatives were permitted to stay, but a ban on publication of evidence given at the hearing was imposed.

Evidence given at preliminary hearings is tightly controlled in order to avoid influencing the opinions of potential jurors at a future trial.

Holmes, a Catholic priest whose name appears on court papers as both Laurent Holmes and Joseph L.D. Holmes and was indicted under the name Laurent Joseph Donald Holmes, was charged with 43 counts of indecent assault, three counts of sexual assault and six counts of gross indecency based on reports from seven complainants.

The offences, which are alleged to have occurred between 1972 and 1983 while Holmes was assigned to St. Dominique Church in New Sudbury, allegedly involved young girls.

Holmes was suspended from his duties at St. Jean de Brebeuf Church when he was charged in February 2000. More charges were laid later after further investigation.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Justice William Fitzgerald will rule whether enough evidence exists to commit Holmes to trial.

14 Responses to Holmes: Father Donald Holmes

  1. Jane Macmaster says:

    What about a priest delaney from copper cliff

    • also from copper cliff says:

      Agreed, but didn’t realize there were others. I guess as kids we always think we were the only one. Wonder how many more of us there were & if anyone tried reaching out…

  2. Nicole Primeau says:

    I was an altar girl at Ste Dominique Parish and attended Ste Dominique School in Sudbury Ontario. I was one of his victims. In the rectory he asked me to sit in his lap and he pressed me down hard so that I could feel his erect penis. He took me on his motorcycle and won my trust. He abused his power. I was ten years old. It happened more than once and I recall the girls who were with me. I never told because who would believe me? I was told I had to attend church by my parents and went on my own. My parents never came.

    • BC says:

      I believe you and I am truely sorry for what that convicted pervert did to you. You did nothing to deserve it. It wasn’t your fault. Sylvia probably wasn’t informed that there had been more convictions against Father Holmes in 2006 for sexually assaulting two young girls in a public swimming pool in 1987 in Sault Ste Marie. I`m sure that if Sylvia had known about the 2006 convictions that she would have blogged about it.

      • Sylvia says:

        Do you have any further information on the 2006 charges BC? Any links to media coverage you can send me?

          • Sylvia says:

            Thanks BC. I have posted the article and added a few more on the previous (2002) set of charges and conviction. Included in the latter is “Beware of pedophile” in which police alert the community that Holmes, who is being released, at “high risk for committing another serious personal injury offence.”

            That aside I am having trouble sorting out the 2006 charges referenced in Northern Life. I have gone through every article I can find elsewhere and it sounds to me as though the charges and conviction referenced in this 2006 article are one and the same as those in 2002? Can anyone shed light on this? Is that an error in date on the Northern Life article? It really looks like it to me.

    • Sylvia says:

      I am so sorry to hear that Nicole, but am happy that you are speaking up. Good for you!

      As far as I can tell he is still alive. If you feel strong enough and ready to do so now you could go to police and report what happened to you.

      Whatever your decision my thoughts and prayers are with you.

      • Nicole Primeau says:

        I went to Ecole St Dominique in Sudbury and the church was also
        St Dominique. This would have been Year 1974-1975
        I was 10 years old give or take. I still cannot speak to my parents about this, I’ve tried but my mother does not want to hear it. I can still remember how powerless and afraid I was. He was a priest. I would like to know more about reporting it to the police and how this could benefit now when it was so long ago. All I know for sure is how vivid the images are in my head, how vulnerable I was and
        that it happened to me. I felt like it was my fault somehow and I felt so alone. I did not have the skills to cope with it. I was a child.

        • bc says:

          There are no statutes of limitations for criminal offences in Canada. It means that you can walk into a police detachment near where you live and inform the police. They will take your information (very seriously), investigate the matter and they will discuss with a Crown attorney the findings of their investigation to determine if charges should be laid. If Father Holmes is deceased, no charges will be laid. Even if he’s alive and charges aren’t laid many victims find that it is validating that their testimony is considered professionally. Others feel that disclosing the humiliation and fear they felt as children is liberating.

          Furthermore, there are no statutes of limitations for civil actions based on sexual assault in Ontario. That means that you can retain a civil litigator to possibly sue Father Holmes (or his estate if he`s deceased) and the Diocese of Sault-St-Marie which is vicariously liable for Father Holmes. There are very experienced civil attorneys in Ontario who specialize in clerical abuse cases. It’s not rocket science and for the Church it is merely a routine risk management thing. The Church quit caring about victims of clerical abuse a long time ago. This is now as far as the Church is concerned; about paying less than more money to victims of clerical abuse.

          Myself, I don`t recommend that victims of clerical abuse go talk to any Church institution/official about having being victimized.

    • pierre julien says:

      what a perv.. I’m dicusted you were one of his victims. I hope you were able to live a happy life considering what he did. He will be judged when he meets with god. I had one of those rusty – brown wooden crosses that was given to me from him at St – Dominique in grade 5 hanging in my tent for protection. When I opened up my camper this year it was all mouldy from a small leak at the vent. I through it out. Every time I looked at that cross, it reminded me of what a monster he is and was all those years ago.
      Live well and remember you are loved.
      From pete.

  3. Michel says:

    When you click the link it takes you to an article penned in 2006 however the link seems to be a 2002 date..curious that. Holmes still living in Sudbury. His past address was on Ramseyview in Sudbury. Still listed in Canada 411 today. I wonder if he spends his time with his friends in rectory. He was pretty tight with JP Jolicoeur and Durocher

  4. Lise says:

    Donald Holmes was my priest in Sault Ste. Marie. When he came to our church, I was in grade 4. He was looking for children to become altar servers and I was an altar girl until I was in the middle of high school. From there I was then a teenage representative for the Parish Council. Father Holmes and I were often doing things like going out for ice cream, going out for pizza and hockey games. I trusted him very much but always kept my distance. I was one of the lucky ones maybe because I wouldn’t let him into my bubble. He went off to Sudbury and coincidentally I also went to university there. We would get together once in a while for our usual pizza or ice cream outings. He even gave me my reference letter for the job I have today. We lost touch after 1999. When the news started up about what he had done, I have to admit that I was not surprised because even though I had put my trust into him all of those years, my gut did tell me to keep my distance. It saddens me very much that he did this to so many innocent children. I was always on guard when he was around which maybe made me one of the lucky ones that didn’t become a victim like the others. But I did become a victim because I have trust issues towards all priests now and I have put into question many things about my faith. I know we are all sinners, but what he did is not acceptable in any way. What he did to all those children really affected me and it saddens me to this day when I think about it. If I could face him, I would give him a piece of my mind. It completely disgusts me that he did what he did.

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