Revere, Massachusetts, 1935
Devout Catholic family
First victim at 18
12-year-old boy at church summer
Joined seminary one year later
Between 1956 and 1960, working
summers at church-run Cathedral
Camp in East Freetown, MA, Porter
molested more victims.
ex: 1958, fondled genitals of a 6th
grader that he was driving home.
1960, assigned to St Mary’s Church and
its grammar school
He taught boys to pitch curve balls,
treated altar boys to rides at a nearby
amusement park, organized sports
programs and a choir.
He would take groups to the beach, to
the city for pro basketball games, and to
Parents, families, and church ofﬁcials
admired Porter and recognized his love
of children and youthful enthusiasm for
Porter lured a ﬁfth-grader, Paul Merry, into
his quarters with an offer of cake and soda.
Complaining of sore muscles from moving
into the rectory, Porter asked for a
He dropped his pants and placed Paul’s
hands on his genitals while Porter fondled
the boy’s genitals.
This ritual continued once a week for
His ﬁrst female victim at St Mary’s was
another ﬁfth grader, Patty Poirer.
He’d asked for help making the
basketball roster - then fondled the 10-
year-old girl in his ofﬁce.
This groping continued in the school
halls and niches of the church for years
Most children were fondled at
ﬁrst, repeatedly, but Porter
soon grew bolder, graduating
to forcible rape and sodomy.
“When I would scream, he would put
his hand over my mouth so no one
could hear me.”
- Daniel Lyons
An 11-year-old girl caught Porter raping
a six-year-old in the bathroom at St
Mary’s and tried to intervene.
“I tried to stop him - he grabbed me
and sodomized me. He was absolutely
violent. He told me he was stronger
than he and that he had the power of
A student, Cheryl Porter, once saw the priest standing with
his pants unzipped before two altar boys and ran to tell the
Rather than going to investigate, Annunziato shouted,
“Why are you stirring up trouble?” and slammed his door
in her face.
Speaking next to a nun at the school, Cheryl was forced to
stand up in class, confess her “lie” and apologize for
blackening Porter’s good name.
Fr James Porter molested at least 222
children across 5 states and 30 years.
Psychology of Pedophilia
The causes of pedophilia (and other paraphilias)
are not known. There is some evidence that
pedophilia may run in families, though it is unclear
whether this stems from genetics or learned
Behavioral learning models suggest that a child who is
the victim or observer of inappropriate sexual
behaviors learns to imitate and is later reinforced for
the behavior. These individuals are deprived of normal
social sexual contacts and thus seek gratification
through less socially acceptable means.