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Globe coverage of the scandal has been divided into nine categories:

  The Rev. James Porter was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison in 1993 for sexually abusing 28 children in the Fall River Diocese. (Globe Staff Photo / Wendy Maeda)

The Boston area's first predator priest case

The Rev. James R. Porter abused some 100 young boys and girls at parishes in North Attleborough, New Bedford and Fall River in the 1960s. In December 1993, Porter was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison in a case that shocked Catholics in the Diocese of Fall River and the neighboring Boston Archdiocese. At the time, Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law called Porter an "aberrant" and blasted the media over their intense scrutiny of the case. But the scandal prompted the Boston Archdiocese to enact a new sexual abuse policy which church leaders said would prevent future acts of molestation.

 James Porter's career
1952
Graduates from Boston College High School
1956
Earns bachelor's degree in mathematics from Boston College.
1960
Ordained as priest after graduating from Baltimore seminary and assigned to St. Mary's Church, North Attleboro.
1963
After complaints from parents, is assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Fall River.
1965
Following further complaints, is assigned to St. James Parish in New Bedford.
1967
Left New Bedford and enters a church-run treatment program operated by the Order of the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.
1969
Assigned to St. Philip's Catholic Church in Bemidji, Minn., after receiving treatment in a church halfway house in Nevis, Minn.
1970
Dismissed from St. Philip's after new allegation of sexual abuse and moves to nearby small town in Minnesota, begins work as a bank teller and receives private therapy.
1971
Enters Paraclete treatment center in St. Louis and decides to leave the priesthood.
1971
Moves to Maplewood, Minn., and works in nearby bank.
1974
Is officially terminated as a priest.
1976
Marries Verlyne Kay Bartlett, 23, in St. Paul; first of four children is born; quits bank job and becomes a "house husband."
1982-1991
Tutors math at the Transfiguration Catholic School, Maplewood.
1990
Frank Fitzpatrick, a Rhode Island private investigator who had been an altar boy under Porter, confronts the former priest on the telephone about alleged sexual abuse; Fitzpatrick takes out advertisments in New England newspapers seeking other alleged victims of Porter's abuse.
May 8, 1992
WBZ-TV of Boston reports Porter's alleged history of sexually abusing children. In a taped interview, Porter tells the TV station of abusing 50 to 100 children. In the weeks to come, more than 60 alleged victims give accounts of abuse to Boston news media or law enforcement officials.
May 22
Authorities from Boston and Oakdale, Minn., interview Porter for more than two hours, but no charges are filed. Oakdale police say two women reported being abused by Porter 10 or more years earlier in Oakdale. A man surfaces later, telling Oakdale police a similar story of abuse by Porter.
June 7
A notice in St. Philip's Parish bulletin urges anyone who was a victim of Porter's alleged abuse in Bemidji to come forward.
July 11
St. Philip's issues another announcement, this time in a press release, urging alleged victims to come forward.
July 14
As seven alleged victims file suit against him in Minnesota, Porter releases statement contending he has not sexually abused children since he left the priesthood in 1974.
December 3
In the Catholic Church's largest sexual abuse settlement to date, 68 alleged Porter victims drop their lawsuit against the Fall River Diocese in exchange for at least $5 million.
October 4, 1993
Porter pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 28 young Catholics in parishes in southeastern Massachusetts in the 1960s.
December 6
Porter is sentenced to 18 to 20 years in maximum-security prison
Sources
Interview, news media reports
 1 9 9 2 

May 8
Nine allege priest abused them, threaten to sue church

May 9
Six more allege priest abused them in '60s

May 1
Some fault church on sex abuse by priests

May 12
30 more allege sex abuse in 1960s by priest

May 13
Little-known law limits church liability to $20,000
Priest's past is talk, lament of town

May 14
Sexual abuse by priests is a 'betrayal,' 'rare,' Law says

May 15
Right to celibacy of priests stressed

May 20
Questions are catching up to ex-priest in abuse case

May 23
Sex abuse by ex-priest is alleged in Minn.

May 24
Law raps ex-priest coverage

May 25
Two defend coverage of ex-priest

May 26
Church is asked to pay for aid in sex case

May 27
The cardinal and the news media
Law sidesteps victims-fund idea

May 29
Cardinal Law says he deplores abuse by priests

May 30
Sex cases put celibacy back in spotlight

June 1
A bad call on otherwise fair coverage of ex-priest

June 8
Ex-priest's accusers tell of the damage

June 10
Diocese allegedly was told of abuse

June 17
New Fall River bishop reaches out to the abused

July 2  
Anguished cries fell on deaf ears

July 5  
In wake of abuse cases, clergy endure in faith

July 14
Ex-priest accused in Minnesota

July 15
In Minnesota, familiar reverberations
Porter admits abusing children as priest, apologizes

July 16
Porter's treatment questioned

July 19
Ways cited to treat priests who abuse

July 20
Globe Editorial: Responding to Porter's victims

July 24
Other abuse by Porter alleged in N.M.

July 25
Porter got Minn. post with help of retreat home

July 26
Group criticizes church response to sex offenders

July 29
Ex-priest says Porter abused boys in Revere

August 4  
Fall River father says diocese not responsive to complaint

August 10
Flynn sends letter of support to Boston Catholic priests

August 11
In Fall River diocese, high hopes

August 12
New Fall River bishop vows early action on Porter case

August 13
Former New Bedford altar boy says Porter raped him in church

August 20
Porter case on table, church insurer backs out

August 21
Bishop to aid Porter accusers

September 22
Porter held in Minn. on Mass. charges

September 24
Porter faces Mass. court as '87 abuse claim arises
For accusers' attorney, case's high profile is a plus

September 25
Cardinal calls sex abuse by priests an 'evil act'

October 11
Two sides spar on clergy abuse

October 22
Alleged victims urge release of Porter files

October 23
Man says charge made before Porter was priest

October 24
Porter said to have told pope of abuse

October 25
Porter's alleged abuse victims angry with Vatican

October 29
Church view on Porter noted

November 12
Policy, board promised for abuse cases tied to clergy

November 17
Bishops apologize to abuse victims

November 20
Bishops pledge response in abuse cases

November 22
Breaking the Silence: Catholics struggle with delay

November 23
Breaking the Silence: Catholics watching for change

December 4
68 victims settle Porter case with Catholic Church

December 6
Parishioners say they'll dig deep to pay Porter settlement

December 7
Porter goes on trial today

 1 9 9 3 

January 15
Archdiocese sets misconduct rules

January 19
Porter's leaving was urged in 1970

March 31
Man says aide to cardinal let abuse claims languish

August 29
Globe Magazine: Porter case a painful legacy for North Attleborough

October 5
Porter pleads guilty to assaults as priest

October 8
Porter's plea aids victims little, church paper says

December 7
Porter gets 18-20 years

December 8
Porter says church to blame

December 9
Lawyer for Porter victims says 20 other priests in area are accused

 1 9 9 9 

April 3
Sex offender Porter is denied parole

 2 0 0 0 

June 3
Rector's book on clergy, sex is bestseller - among priests

 2 0 0 1 

March 16
Bill would give voice to molestation victims

 2 0 0 2 

February 2
For father and son, a shared anguish

July 14
Despite past, jailed ex-priest seeks 'just one chance'


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