Child-molesting former priest is terminally ill, should be released, lawyer says

Friday, October 22nd 2004, 12:05 pm
By: News On 6

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) _ A former priest at the center of a notorious molestation case a decade ago has incurable cancer and should not be locked up indefinitely as a dangerous sexual predator, his lawyer said.

The attorney, Michael F. Farrington, planned to ask a judge to halt civil commitment proceedings against James Porter, who is bedridden and being managed for pain.

Porter, 69, was convicted in 1993 of molesting 28 children during the 1960s and 1970s while he was a priest in the Fall River Diocese. He completed 11 years in prison in January but has remained in custody while prosecutors sought to have him locked up as a continued threat.

In a motion filed with the court, Farrington said Porter may have only six months to a year to live because of the ``highly aggressive'' malignant tumor.

Prosecutors said they would seek a letter from Porter's doctor verifying his condition.

According to the defense, the tumor was found after Porter was hospitalized twice last month, first for hip pain and a swollen leg and then for kidney failure caused by dehydration.

Porter, who married and had four children after leaving the priesthood, also was convicted in Minnesota of molesting his children's teenage baby sitter. That conviction was overturned on appeal.