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 April 26, 2005
Former priest's molestation of children foreshadowed crisis
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BOSTON Former priest James Porter's widespread molestation of dozens of children foreshadowed the clergy sex abuse scandal that swept the Roman Catholic church.

He grew up in working-class East Boston and neighboring Revere and studied for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. After he finished in 1960, he was assigned that spring to St. Mary's parish in North Attleboro.

Porter began molesting children within weeks, sometimes brazenly. Even though rumors about him quickly spread through the town, a culture of shame and denial allowed him to stay in the town until 1963.

He was eventually accused of having molested 68 boys and girls in North Attleboro.

Porter died tonight (Friday) at the New England Medical Center where he had been undergoing treatment after being transferred from a Department of Correction medical facility last month.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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