February 16, 2005

Abuser's death doesn't heal assault victims

Grand Forks Herald

By Stephen J. Lee
Herald Staff Writer

BEMIDJI -- The news that James Porter had died wasn't a surprise and didn't mean much to Dan Dow and Jim Grimm, even though the man marked their lives.

When they were sixth-grade altar boys in St. Philip's Catholic parish here in 1969 and 1970, Porter was a priest who sexually assaulted them and 20 other youths dozens of times.

Porter, 70, died of cancer Friday in Massachusetts, still behind bars. He had admitted to sexually abusing 100 or more children in several parishes in several states, including Minnesota, before leaving the priesthood in 1973.

Grimm, 46, prayed Sunday in St. Philip's.

"I prayed for all the victims. I prayed it wouldn't happen again any more. I prayed all the victims could handle it."

Dow, 47, still is a member of the parish but doesn't attend very often, mostly because of the way the church handled the abuse scandal. He still has strong emotions about what Porter did to him, what made him nearly commit suicide several times and start a drinking habit when he was in eighth grade.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 03:50 AM