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Frank L. Fitzpatrick vs ex-priest James R. Porter
Brief Chronology, through 1993
Copyright © 1994 Francis L. Fitzpatrick
All Rights Reserved

 

1935. January 2. James R. Porter born

1950. Frank Fitzpatrick born.

1953. Porter at age 18 molests a 13 year old boy at a playground in his home town of Revere, Massachusetts.

1956-1960. Seminarian Porter works summers at Cathedral Camp in East Freetown, MA, molesting children. Is reported to another priest by a boy who later grew up to be an FBI agent. In Revere, molests numerous neighborhood children.

1960, April. 1st assignment of Roman Catholic priest Porter in North Attleboro at St. Mary Church and Elementary (Kindergarten to 8th Grade) School. Rapes and sexually assaults over a hundred known victims, boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14 including Frank. Drugs and rapes 12 year old Frank Fitzpatrick at Porter’s parents’ home in Revere, MA.

1962. Porter is reported for sexually assaulting children from North Attleboro by victims’ parents/relatives Louise Connor, Connie Lyons, and Babe Viens to pastor Father Booth and Father Annunziato of St. Mary’s Church. Louise Connor is told by Father Booth that Porter is already receiving treatment - Booth says, “What are you trying to do, crucify him?” Porter is reported to the office of Bishop James Connolly of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. (Diocese personnel records, later revealed in 1992, indicate their knowledge in 1960s of 30 boys having been abused.) Babe Viens talks to Monsignor Medeiros in the absence of Bishop Connolly. (Medeiros later becomes a Cardinal). Lyons drives Porter to Boston to see a psychiatrist for treatment. Porter also receives electroshock treatments by Dr. Norris Flanagan of Wiswall Hospital.

1963, August. Porter leaves North Attleboro. Transferred to Sacred Heart Church in Fall River, Massachusetts, 25 miles away. Molests more children. Babe Viens hears that Porter is at a parish in Fall River and again goes to the Bishop’s Office to complain.

1965. Porter is transferred to St. James Church in New Bedford, 15 miles from Fall River. Fathers O’Dea and Duffy are told by Monsignor Gallagher that the Diocesan Office says to watch Father Porter because he has a “problem with little boys.” Porter is not assigned duties specifically relating to children although he becomes a chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital. As an extra priest Porter has lots of spare time and uses it to molest scores more of boys and girls.

1966?. Porter is turned in to New Hampshire police who simply escort him to the border and let him go.

1967. Porter is caught once again and is shipped off to Jemez Springs, New Mexico for “treatment” at Foundation House, run by the Servants of the Paraclete order of priests. Porter is let out on trial basis to say Mass in area churches in New Mexico and Texas and again practices “his old failings” as the Paraclete’s records call it.

1969. Porter is given a letter of recommendation from the treatment center to an unsuspecting parish, St. Phillip’s, in Bemidji, Minnesota.

1969-1970. Porter molests a couple of dozen more children in Bemidji. Porter is caught and reported again.

1974. Porter writes a letter to the Pope asking to be allowed to leave the priesthood and officially leaves.

1976 Porter gets married in the Catholic Church of St. Casimir in St. Paul.

1974 to 1980. Porter molests some neighborhood boys.

1984. Porter molests a young teenage female babysitter who is caring for his children.

1987, Summer. Porter molests his children’s 15 year old babysitter, Sara, sister of the babysitter he molested in 1984.

1989, September. Frank Fitzpatrick’s repressed memories of sexual assault by Father James Porter in 1962 return.

1989, September 27. Fitzpatrick writes letter to Bishop Cronin of Diocese of Fall River and receives return call from Chancellor Monsignor Oliveira telling him to “Leave it in the hands of the Lord.”

1989, September to November. Search by Fitzpatrick to locate James Porter. Fitzpatrick starts to find other survivors of Porter from Fitzpatrick’s home town of North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

1989, November. Fitzpatrick locates Porter in Minnesota. Alerts Minnesota police and social services.

1989, December. After a phone call to Detective Bill Hutton of the Oakdale Police Department from Frank Fitzpatrick, Porter is interviewed by the FBI in connection with the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy named Jacob Wetterling. Porter admits to the FBI to molesting around 30 or 40 children while he was a Catholic priest. FBI do nothing.

1990 to 1992. Frank places ads in newspapers, phones, & makes in-person visits to locate other Porter survivors. Talks to area priests Armando Annunziato & O’Dea who worked with Porter in the 1960s, - does other public record research.

1990, February 19. Frank Fitzpatrick calls the Porter home and warns Verlyne Porter that her husband is a danger to children. Frank talks to James Porter also, and records the telephone conversation.

1990, September. Fitzpatrick phones Porter and again tapes the call.

1990, October. Fitzpatrick makes a public speech and music presentation in Providence, RI to about 200 people using his own name and naming Porter as having abused 30 children in the early 1960s. A “sound bite” by Frank appears on the evening news on three Providence TV stations. Frank finds first known New Bedford survivor.

1990, December. Frank has researched laws and then makes official criminal complaint to North Attleboro police and Bristol County DA. Frank has given copies of his tapes to DA and also a newspaper reporter from New Bedford Standard-Times. The reporter interviews local priests, is killed in a one-car accident, and story never runs.

1990, December. Fitzpatrick phones Porter and again tapes the call.

1991, May. Frank makes public speech at a speak-out in Worcester, Massachusetts about Porter & cover up by Church. Sun-Chronicle newspaper does a supportive editorial using Frank’s name and story but not naming Porter.

1991. September. Fitzpatrick phones Porter for the 4th time and again tapes the call.

1991, Summer. A New Bedford Porter survivor contacts attorney who directs us to Attorney Eric MacLeish.

1992, May 7. Thursday. Broadcast of 8 people telling their story about abuse by Porter on WBZ-TV Channel 4, in Boston, Massachusetts to reporter Joe Bergantino. Patty Wilson, Judy Mullett, and Frank Fitzpatrick show their faces and use their names. 5 others speak in shadow including Mike Whalen and Pete Calderone who also later go completely public. Within the next 3 months 68 survivors in Massachusetts area come forward. People make reports to police and the district attorney’s office. Survivors of priests and other perps flood Frank’s office and home with phone calls. News media blitz begins.

1992, May 8. John Robitaille and 2 other men come forward and go public. New people to Frank.

1992. July. PrimeTime Live with Diane Sawyer airs 30 minute feature of the Porter case showing 25 people gone public. As a result, dozens of Porter survivors in Minnesota, Texas, and New Mexico hear of what is going on and come forward.

1992. September. James Porter is indicted in Massachusetts for molesting 28 children - now adults - still within the statute of limitations. Same day he is indicted in Minnesota for molesting a babysitter of his children.

1992. October. Civil claim settlement with the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, by 68 Porter survivors. 31 more are later represented by Attorney Eric MacLeish and settle claims. Then 2 more.

1992. December. Porter is tried for crimes of abusing babysitter in Minnesota. Frank & Sara Fitzpatrick attend along with Porter survivor Fran Battaglia to support the young lady. Porter is found guilty and sentenced to 6 months. 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 Mrs. Verlyne Porter’s testimony

1993. December. Porter plea bargains with Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh, and Judge Steadman gives him 18 to 20 years, of which he is serving 6 or more now in Massachusetts. [as of 11/24/2002]

More than 130* survivors of Father or Mr. 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.

*More like 200, as I have recently learned.
Then there are many others, too. (See my book if I ever get it published.)

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