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Former Priest Accused in Scores of Molestations Arrested on Sex Charge With AM-Priests-Sexual

September 22, 1992

Former Priest Accused in Scores of Molestations Arrested on Sex Charge With AM-Priests-Sexual Abuse, Bjt

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) _ A former Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting scores of children more than 20 years ago was arrested Monday in Minnesota on a Massachusetts warrant alleging sexual assault, authorities said.

James R. Porter, 57, was taken into custody in his hometown of Oakdale, Minn., said Kim Blaiser, a spokeswoman for the Washington County (Minn.) sheriff’s department. Extradition proceedings were scheduled for Tuesday.

A lawyer for some of Porter’s accusers, Roderick MacLeish, said prosecutors indicted Porter on 46 sexual abuse counts involving 32 people.

Bristol County prosecutors couldn’t be reached for comment after business hours following a Boston TV news report on the arrest. District Attorney Paul Walsh scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to discuss the Porter investigation.

Porter left the priesthood in the early 1970s and now is married and has four children. He admitted in a statement this summer that he had molested ″a number of children″ while he was a priest, but said he stopped after leaving the priesthood.

Aside from the criminal charges, Porter also faces lawsuits in New Mexico and Minnesota alleging child molestation. In all, more than 80 people have accused Porter of molesting them.

Porter served at three southeastern Massachusetts parishes in the 1960s. He also underwent treatment for pedophilia at a New Mexico center, according to lawsuits against him, and worked at a church in Bemidji, Minn., in 1960 and 1970.

The lawsuits also accuse Catholic Church officials of transferring Porter from parish to parish despite knowing of his alleged compulsive molestation.

Calls to Porter’s attorney, Peter DeGelleke of Concord, Mass., weren’t returned Monday. The local diocese couldn’t be reached for comment.

EDT

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