February 12, 2005

Porter's death ignites emotions about his crimes, church response

Telegram & Gazette

Associated Press Writer

BOSTON— Before hundreds of sexual abuse allegations shook the foundations of the Archdiocese of Boston, and lawsuits exposed a hierarchy that protected pedophile priests, there was James Porter.

The 1993 case of the former priest, who died on Friday at a Boston hospital at age 70, was an early bellwether of a broader scandal that would hit a decade later. His death evoked strong emotions among victims, his wife and others whose lives became intertwined with his.

Peter Calderone, 55, of Attleboro, a Porter victim, said he was glad that Porter's "not a menace to society any longer."

"It's going to take a long, long time for Porter's devastation to fade from history," he said.

David Clohessy, president of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hoped Porter's victims could now find some measure of peace.

"Many parents and victims warned church leaders about Porter," he said. "Not surprisingly, they were essentially ignored. Had church leaders heeded these warnings, much might be different today. Had church authorities acted responsibly, thousands of once-trusting Catholic families could have been spared so much severe pain."

But Porter's wife, Anne Porter, said her husband was a changed person by the time he died.

Posted by kshaw at February 12, 2005 02:13 PM