A former altar boy who previously lived in North Attleborough has agreed to a financial settlement with the Diocese of Fall River for sexual abuse that he endured from a priest in 1961.
The victim’s attorney, Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, announced in a press conference on Nov.1 that a settlement package between his client and the diocese was made in the “mid-five figures.” The 72-year-old victim, who now lives on the North Shore, was an altar boy at St. Mary’s Church in North Attleborough and was sexually abused by the Catholic Priest James Porter.
According to Garabedian, the victim, who opted not to disclose his name, chose to agree to the settlement after the statutes of limitations of the case expired two years ago. He added that his client said they wanted to move on from the sexual abuse that he faced when he was a child.
“He had the strength and courage to appear and confront the diocese and the evils of child clergy sexual abuse,” Garabedian said. “My client thought it was time to come clean and get the ugly weight of childhood clergy sexual abuse off his shoulders.”
Garabedian said his client was 11 when Porter assaulted him. According to Garabedian, the two met at the North Attleborough World War II Memorial Pool one summer day when Porter invited the victim to the church rectory. According to the victim’s testimony, Porter said he told him to follow him down the corridor, where Porter sexually abused him.
Garabedian said the Fall River Diocese investigated the claims and found them credible. Afterward, the diocese agreed to the settlement. Garabedian said that Porter had died years ago, but that the damage he caused to the victim remains to this day.
“Children who were sexually abused in the 1990s and the early 2000s are now coming to me to report sexual abuse from the clergy,” Garabedian said. “With the history that it has had, the Catholic Church cannot investigate itself properly in regards with clergy sexual abuse.”
The Diocese of Fall River could not be reached for further comment.