Civil lawsuit filed in Crookston priest sex abuse

KARE 11: CROOKSTON, Minn. — A lawsuit filed by Saint Paul attorney Jeff Anderson in Crookston Monday morning charges The Diocese of Crookston, the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts and the Servants of the Paraclete group with a dozen counts of nuisance and negligence in their handling of former Priest James Porter.

Porter admitted or was linked to the abuse of more than 100 young boys and girls, dating back to the 1950’s. This lawsuit involves the case of a unnamed Minnesota woman, now in her 50’s, who alleges that Porter, who died in 2005, molested her while he was a priest at St. Phillips parish in Bemidji in 1969 and 1970.

“And where she and her family had come to trust this very cunning, but very dangerous wolf in shepherd’s clothing, Father James Porter,” said Jeff Anderson.

Bemidji is in the Crookson diocese. Porter became a priest and committed sex abuse while in the Fall River diocese. He was treated for his abusive practices by the Servants of the Paraclete group.

It is the first civil lawsuit involving Porter since Minnesota removed the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.

The suit demands at least $50,000 in damages from that all three entities reveal the names of priests in their organizations who were credibly accused of molesting young people.

Porter, had left the priesthood in 1974, married a woman in Minnesota, lived in Oakdale and fathered 4 children. After admitting to abuse and serving a prison term in Massachusetts of 18-20 years, Porter died of cancer in 2005.

Anderson credited the state’s removal of a statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases in 2013 as making it possible to file lawsuits like the money filed Monday.

“It is possible now,” said Anderson. “the doors to the courthouse in Minnesota have now been opened for survivors under what is called the Child Victims Act.”