Global News is reporting that an Ontario county Children’s Aid Society failed to detect or act on the systemic abuses of countless vulnerable children in several foster care homes over a span of 8 years.
Global provides a quote from one of the victims demonstrating that neighbours wondered how Joe and Janet Holmes were able to receive and care for children. The same victim had her contact information distributed by her abusers to people in the town, who then sent her sexually inappropriate messages and contributed to her abuse.
Tragically, foster home scarcity may have contributed to the ongoing neglect of the Holms’ crimes. One victim, whose name was redacted by Global to protect their identity, said her attempt to report her foster parent, Joe Holms, forcing her to “cuddle” on the couch simply resulted in him being told “to stop cuddling the children.” Revelation like this may have led to Justice Geoffrey Griffin, the judge who oversaw the conviction of the Holms to comment “The idea that the Children’s Aid Society didn’t know or, or shouldn’t have been aware that something was going on, is hard for me to accept.”
While both Joe and his wife Janet were sentenced to jail time in 2011 for their various, horrific abuses of children, they were far from the only ones. Global reports the last foster family to be convicted with the abuse of children in their care in the Prince Edward county system was in 2015.
Bill Sweet, the executive director of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society, was charged in 2018 with 10 counts of neglect, and 10 counts of failing to provide the necessities of life. His preliminary trial begins in July 2019, and his lawyer asserts that he will defend himself against the charges.