PERV PRIEST’S MERCY PLEA
James R. Porter, a 69 year old ex-priest has molested children since the age of 18. At least 130 survivors of Porter have come forward to date, coming forward defined here as going to the police to make a report or being represented by an attorney. Many other Porter survivors are known but have taken no action yet. In September of 1992, Porter was indicted in Massachusetts for molesting 28 children, now adults, still within the statute of limitations. The same day he is indicted in Minnesota for molesting a baby-sitter of his children. In October 1992, civil claim settlement with the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, by 68 survivors and 31 more are later represented by Attorney Eric MacLeish and settle claims. In December of 1992, he is tried for crimes of abusing the baby-sitter in Minnesota. He is found guilty and sentenced to 6 months. He serves 4 months in Minnesota. Minnesota Supreme Court later overturns the verdict based on the prosecutor's closing remarks that the jury would be fools to believe his wife's testimony. In December 1993, he plea bargains with Bristol County DA Paul Walsh and the judge gives him 18 to 20 years, of which he is serving 6 or more now in Massachusetts.
Porter has been diagnosed with incurable cancer and his lawyer said he should not be locked up indefinitely as a dangerous predator. The lawyer planned to ask a judge to halt civil commitment proceedings against Porter, who is bedridden and being managed for pain. He completed his 11 year sentence in January, but remained jailed while prosecutors tried to have him locked up as a continued threat. In a motion filed with the court, Porter may have only six months to a year to live because of the malignant tumor.
(New Bedford, Massachusetts)