Porter pope letter says `sickness' will `always be there'
By Jessica Heslam
Thursday, April 8, 2004

defrocked priest Porter


When he finally agreed to leave the priesthood, admitted pedophile James Porter penned the pope a letter detailing his ``sickness'' of molesting boys in parishes across the country and that his ``inclinations will always be there.''
     Porter, who was ordained in 1960 and first assigned to St. Mary's Parish in North Attleboro (Mass), wrote that it was reported to then-Fall River Bishop James Connolly that ``I had become homosexually involved with some of the youth of the parish.''

     ``I realized that I was somewhat of an ideal of the children and this was very comforting to me,'' Porter wrote in 1973.

     The 18-page letter was introduced yesterday by prosecutors in Taunton Superior Court, where a judge will decide whether the 69-year-old Porter will stand trial to determine if he is sexually dangerous. Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 to molesting 28 children and his prison sentence is up.

     Church officials had asked Porter to leave the priesthood in 1970, but he ``vigorously fought that,'' said Dr. Carol Feldman, who said Porter had an ``available pool of children'' he didn't want to lose. Connolly, however, suspended Porter from all priestly duties the same year.

     A Boston College graduate, Porter finally agreed to leave the priesthood in 1973. In his letter, Porter said Bishop Connolly sent him home from St. Mary's until the ``scandal of this affair died down.''

     Bishop Connolly gave Porter ``another chance,'' assigning him to Sacred Heart Parish in Fall River (Mass), where Porter said he ``again fell into the same situation that plagued'' him in North Attleboro.

     Porter underwent shock treatments before Bishop Connolly assigned him to St. James Parish in New Bedford (Mass), where Porter said he ``ran into the same difficulty.''
     Porter wrote that he went to five more parishes in Stoneham, (Mass) Las Vegas, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas, where he again molested children, before leaving the priesthood. Before leaving Massachusetts for Las Vegas, he underwent psychiatric treatment in New Mexico after the Rev. Paul Shanley ``insisted'' he seek ``aid and assistance.'' Shanley is currently awaiting trial for molesting boys.

     Porter wrote that he got a job at a Minnesota bank in 1971 and began a ``new way of life.''

     Saying he was ashamed, Porter said he had used the priesthood to ``foster my sickness.''

     ``I have not run into my previous difficulty of wrong relations with youth of the same sex even though I realize I will always have the inclination present,'' he wrote.

     Porter's pedophilia spans from 1960 to at least 1987, authorities said. Two psychologists testified that Porter is likely to offend again.