Edward J. Holter was sentenced April 25, 2108. Photo by Madalyn Wood.

POMEROY, Ohio – A local man has been sentenced following a conviction for Gross Sexual Imposition involving minors to five years of community control and to register as a Tier 1 Sex Offender.

Edward J. Holter, 56, was sentenced by Judge Dean Evans in the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas April 25, 2018. Holter appeared with his attorney, Jeffrey Findley. Judge Evans upheld the recommendations of the Ohio Attorney General Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa in a plea agreement. Holter was sentenced to five years of community control, register as a Tier 1 Sex Offender, no contact with any of the victims in the case, and he can not employ or volunteer in any circumstance in which he is in contact with females under 18 years of age. Also part of the agreement was that Holter had to resign from Eastern Local School District where he had been employed as a bus driver, but Holter retired previously from the position. Holter was also forced to resign his position on the Meigs County Fair Board which he has done. A Tier 1 Sex Offender is a classification involving children as victims and Judge Evans went through explaining that to Holter. Holter will have to register with the County Sheriff for 15 years.

Holter entered a guilty plea to the bill of information on March 5, 2018 involving the employment of teenage females at his farm located at Flatwoods Drive. The victims were working on the farm at the time of the incidents ranging in conduct from sexual harassment to physical contact which led to the three charges of Gross Sexual Imposition, all felonies of the fourth degree. By entering the plea to the bill of information, the charges against Holter do not more forward through the court process and to a grand jury for indictment. The guilty plea and subsequent conviction stand the same, however.

Canepa read a statement from one of the victims in the case. Through the statement the victim talked about the trust her parents had with Holter to allow her to work at the farm and be friends with his daughters. “I trusted you like my own father,” Canepa read from the statement of one of the victims.

The statement outlined how in the years that should have been the “best years of my life” the victim spent “completely ashamed of who I was,” that Holter, “completely broke me.”

The victim also stated that she passed a polygraph test and that Holter had refused to take one. She outlined the pain she had been through for years working to put her life back together. She stated that at least, “They will not look at you as Mr. Meigs County anymore.”

Holter expressed no remorse in the courtroom and only answered Judge Evans with “Yes your honor” when he was asked about understanding that he had given up certain rights with the plea agreement including appeal.

Holter was kept outside the courtroom until the proceedings began and brought through the back door of the courtroom. He entered solemn and kept his eyes down. Several people had filed for and obtained a permit to protest the sentencing. They had been in front of the courthouse protesting the light sentence of community control. There was also a crowd in the courtroom during sentencing. Holter exited the courtroom through the back door as well, avoiding the protest outside.

Statements from two of the victims parents

Two parents of one of the three victims wanted to read statements in the courtroom, but Judge Evans had refused to allow them to do so. The statements were given to media covering the sentencing including the Meigs Independent Press.

The following is the statement from one of the victim’s fathers in its entirety except for the victims name in which “my daughter” has been used:

“Disappointment – how could I have not read the signals; my daughter was trying to tell me that you were sick. I, like undoubtedly so many other, passed it off saying, that’s just, as a friend had long ago referred to, (that’s just) “little Eddie Holter.”
Disbelief – my teen daughter; sexually assaulted at her part-time high school job by you; just couldn’t be. This was a dad’s worst nightmare. I initially acted like too many others have, I didn’t want to believe it.
Shock – Then an immediate sickness occurred that tore at my being; my family had been violated. A powerful fatherly instinct takes over and the thought; that this just can’t happen without revenge is overwhelming.
Rage – A father’s natural human family protection instinct yields to rage. Rage demands revenge without restraint; purely evil.
Revenge – plots and plans were being contemplated, but thank God, were constantly being conflicted by Faith. In the worst, most evil, moments I had the Holy Spirit of God aiding me in dealing with my emotions and, to THIS end, I am most thankful. God’s teaching to followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to be vengeful and that through faith, God, himself, will see to the vengeance. So here it is; God, using this court, is exercising a little of what He has in store for you.
Sadness- I am sad for all the people, especially those too young, whose lives have been downgraded by your evil acts. None of your victims can be, in life, what they would have been without your negative impact. That is such a shame and truly rips through my soul. My daughter is here as she is; as I wonder what would her “today” have been without having to endure your presence, doing this because of your sick and evil deeds!
Faith – Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for those that tirelessly worked for You to bring us to this day and its tiny bit of rectifying earthly justice. Thank You for Your Spirit; with whom I constantly battle, but know that He is strong and will prevail as You see necessary. Thank you for Your Grace as I struggle with forgiveness. This is Your creation and Your Will; will be. Father, please bless each victim; both the reactive and the inactive, give them peace as it pertains to this proceeding. In the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ; Amen.”

One of the victims mothers also gave a statement to the Meigs Independent Press and is as follows unedited except for omitting the name of the victim:

“February 5, 2012 – the day Ed Holter sexually assaulted my then 17-year-old daughter. My attorneys call it “inappropriate touching.” He has pleaded to “gross sexual imposition.” But it was a sexual assault. By someone my daughter trusted. By someone she considered a friend. He was her friend’s dad. He was her employer. He violated her in more ways than one. He violated her physically. He violated her trust. He violated her mentally. He violated her emotionally. He violated our family. He assaulted not only my daughter’s body, but her heart, mind and soul as well. He took her friend away from her.
Ed Holter preyed on his daughters’ friends for years. He would invite them to his home. He would employ them on his farm. He would flirt. He would joke. He was their bus driver! He would lure them into a false sense of security and trust, then he would strike. He would count on the friendships these girls had with his daughters to keep them quiet. He would count on the belief that no one would believe them to keep them quiet. Because “Ed Holter would never do such a thing!” Ed Holter is a true predator. Ed Holter is a monster.
But that all changed on February 5, 2012 because my daughter told me what happened.
And when my daughter described to me in very explicit details what had happened, I knew that was not the first time Ed Holter had sexually assaulted a teen girl.
My heart was broken, my mind was reeling and I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.
I also knew God did not let this happen to my daughter for her to do nothing. She had to be the last teen girl that Ed Holter assaulted.
I have spent the last six (6) years doing everything in my power to see that Ed Holter was held accountable for what he did to these girls. And, we will truly never know the full impact his actions have had on each of them, will we? What could they have been had they not had to endure a sexual assault as a teenager? What could they have been had they not kept their secret? How has it affected each of them emotionally? Mentally? How does it effect their daily lives- still today? How will it still affect them twenty-five (25) years from now? Ed Holter robbed them all of their potential. And for what? His own personal gratification!
People may think that “poor Ed Holter” is getting railroaded because of the #MeToo Movement and the public’s sudden intolerance for sexual harassment. That is absolutely NOT what is going on here. “Poor Ed Holter” is getting just a taste of what he deserves because his despicable, predatory behavior has been going on for years, and, finally, someone stood up to him.
I want to thank my daughter and other girls for coming forward- for speaking for the girls that couldn’t. We would not be here today without you. Ed Holter may look at this plea bargain as a gift because he knows (as we all know) that his sins are far greater than what he has pleaded to here, but it is also a gift to the girls. They don’t have to tell what happened to them again if they don’t want to. No more attorneys, law enforcement, investigators. No more public scrutiny and whispers. They can finally put what happened to them behind them. They can walk with their heads held high. They are getting justice today. Today, everyone will know they did not lie about what Ed Holter did to them. Today, everyone will know Ed Holter is a sexual predator.
“Vengeance is mine: I will repay, sayeth the Lord,” in Romans 12:19. I can only hope and pray this means that God has a special place in hell for people like Jerry Sandusky, Ariel Castro, Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar…and Ed Holter. Yes, in my opinion, Ed Holter is one of the worst of the worst when it comes to sexual predators.
These girls have been living in a hell on earth for many years because of Ed Holter. Now it is his turn. Ed’s hell on earth begins today.
God tells me that I am supposed to forgive Ed Holter. I’m not quite there yet. Maybe when Ed begins suffering as he has made these girls and others, then, maybe, some day, I will be able to forgive him.