February 14, 2005

Ex-Wife Of Convicted Pedophile Says Death A Relief


POSTED: 7:46 am EST February 14, 2005

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- The former wife of convicted pedophile and former priest James Porter, who had accused him of abusing three of their four children, said his death on Friday brought her a sense of relief but also renewed feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Verlyne K. Gray, who lives in Minnesota, spoke in an interview published Monday in the Standard-Times of New Bedford about her former husband. He was convicted in 1993 of molesting 28 children while a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River in the 1960s. His case was an early bellwether of the broader clergy abuse scandal a decade later.

"I thought that now he can't hurt anyone else. I hoped he had come to terms with what he did," she said. "I had wished he had apologized, which he never did. He just caused so much pain and suffering and that would have been one step that could have helped."

Porter, 70, had finished his prison sentence and was awaiting a civil commitment hearing to decide if he would be released or held as a sexually dangerous person when he died of cancer.

Gray divorced Porter in 1995 after 19 years of marriage. They had married after he left the priesthood, when he was 42 and she was 24. She said he abused three of their four children. One son died in 2003 at the age of 23. The three other children are now 28, 23 and 13.

Posted by kshaw at February 14, 2005 07:13 AM