One Priest's Victims Confront Past Abuse
Larry King Live
June 23, 1992
Frank Fitzpatrick alleges that as a child he was raped by a priest but repressed the memory for 30 years. It resurfaced, he confronted the priest and publicized the case; 60 other victims have come forward.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Larry King Live. Tonight: A generation of pain grips a small town – Dozens of long-buried sexual abuse cases traced to a single Catholic priest. Plus: Free speech, or free-for-all? In-your-face street preachers have South Carolina taking sides. Now, here's Larry King.
LARRY KING: Good evening form Washington. Welcome to another edition of Larry King Live.
A couple of quick notes: Tomorrow afternoon on CNN at 2:00 Eastern, Ross Perot will hold a press conference. CNN will be there. That's 2:00 Eastern tomorrow. Tomorrow night on this program, Andrew Morton, the author of the number-one bestseller in the world, about Princess Di, will be our guest. And Thursday night, don't forget, an hour with the Attorney General of the United States, William Barr.
How many people were hurt? At least 50, perhaps 100. The total keeps rising. And most grew up thinking that they alone had been sexually abused by the local Catholic priest. Only this spring did they learn how many others shared their terrible secret. North Attleboro, Massachusetts, in the '60s was the kind of place where kids were taught to respect priests, and none of the adults suspected the Reverend James Porter. But he is said to have molested dozens of young people.
The story might have stayed buried if one of the alleged victims hadn't tracked Porter down in Minnesota and confronted him over the phone:
[Recording of telephone conversation:]
FRANK FITZPATRICK, Alleged Victim: You know, to be blunt, you screwed-up a lot of people, a lot of children, back then.
JAMES R. PORTER, Former Priest: Oh, I guess I must have. I know. That's what I said. That was sick, and I guess I had quite a breakdown.
KING: Porter is no longer talking. He's the focus of criminal probes. The Catholic hierarchy just this week conceded past mistakes in probing sex abuse charges. But where was the church in this case? How could this have happened?
With us tonight – Frank Fitzpatrick, the man who confronted Father Porter. Joining us from Boston is Pat Kozak, who says that she's just realized she's on the list of Porter's victims. In a little while, we'll meet an attorney and a Catholic therapist.
This occurred when, Frank? What happened?
FRANK FITZPATRICK, Alleged Victim: OK. This occurred to me in 1962. Porter was assigned to Saint Mary's Church in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, from 1960 to '63.
KING: You were how old?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I was 12.
KING: And he was the priest of the-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: He was the local priest. That was his first assignment as a priest. He was a young guy. He was 25 when he was assigned there.
KING: And he was the priest of the parish? He led the mass?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: There were three priests there. He was a junior priest. There was a pastor and another priest besides him there.
KING: And what happened?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: He – Well, what happened to me, in particular?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Or everybody?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: To me? OK. To me – I really loved this guy, so it really affected me greatly. But he took me up to his parents' house in Revere, Massachusetts, which is just north of Boston. And he was supposed to be taking me to a ball game at Boston Garden, and what type I don't even know, but I remember looking for Boston Garden out the window of his house and not seeing it. But we never got to the game. So he took me to this place, gave me some mincemeat pie that knocked me out. It had something in it. I remember tasting it and it was horrible. I didn't want to eat it. And he insisted that I eat it and, like a good Catholic boy that I was, I ate it.
Anyway, I woke up with this guy laying on top of me, anally violating me.
KING: Did you go tell your parents?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No.
KING: Why not?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I repressed it entirely. As a matter of fact, I, you know – Well, I repressed the memory entirely until three years ago.
KING: It happened once?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: It happened once that I recall so far. That's all I remember, is one event.
KING: But that you remember distinctly?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, that I remember distinctly now, yes.
KING: Did he continue to be the priest?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, he was a priest after that.
KING: And did you ever go to confession? Did you see him a lot after that?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I did see him a lot after that. When I would go to confession I remember going to another priest instead, Father Annunziato [sp?].
KING: Did he ever try to be with you again?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Not that I recall. Not that I recall.
KING: So what happened later in life that brought all this back? How did that phone conversation take place? What happened?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Well, my memories started to come back in around the beginning of September of '89, and what happened was I started to feel – to realize that I had no reason to be feeling mental pain. Everything was going right with my life – you know, happily married, good job. And so I just started to allow myself to feel this pain and then start to feel where it came from.
KING: And you remembered the incident?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: And I remembered – gradually, I remembered the incident.
KING: You had put it away somewhere? Is that it?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I had put it away somewhere in my mind. It was still there, but it was just – It was a lump of pain in my head.
KING: Now, after remembering it, how did you get in touch with him? How did that phone conversation come about?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Well, I'm an insurance adjuster and detective, so I know how to track down people. So I tried to track him down. I contacted the church in Fall River, the diocese, and tried to get some help from them, and they gave me no help, whatsoever. So I ended up doing it on my own.
KING: And when you finally reached him, you got him by phone?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: When I finally reached him, I knew where he was and I got his phone number and I-
KING: And what was he doing? Was he a priest there?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, no. No, he was no longer a priest. He hadn't been a priest since 1970.
KING: What was he doing when you reached him?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: He's married and he has – At that time he had three. Now he has four kids of his own, which concerned me.
KING: What did you say to him on the phone?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: The first time I called, I called to talk to his wife to alert her about him, because I was worried about his children or their friends. And then he came on the phone, too, and I talked to him. And I just told him that the memories had come back and I – I was taping him, so I was very cautious about what I said, because I wanted to keep him talking and I wanted to, you know, go over what he said later, play it back and, you know, really – But he admitted doing it.
KING: Right away?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes. Oh, yes. He did. He didn't deny it.
KING: His wife was right there when he did it – when he admitted it? To your knowledge, was she in the room?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I don't think that she left the room. She was there at first. She was on the phone.
KING: Now, did you bring charges against him?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, I brought charges against him. I went to the district attorney. That was in December of '90. And they looked at it. And I had some other people call and talk to them who also had been molested by Porter.
KING: Did they bring him back to Massachusetts?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Not at that time, no.
KING: But they subsequently did?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, not even yet. Not even yet. They've taken a lot of statements from people. There's been – Well, there's 61 people that have come forward to us so far from Massachusetts.
KING: He's living with his family in-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: In Minnesota.
KING: In Minnesota. He's working?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, he's not. He's at home with the kids.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: His wife works and supports him.
KING: The statute of limitations doesn't run on a case like this?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, because he's been out of state since 1967.
KING: Pat Kozak in Boston, what happened to you with Father Porter?
PAT KOZAK, Alleged Victim: Well, Larry, I was probably 11 or 12 years old at the time, and Father Porter had digitally raped me three times in the rectory.
KING: These were boys and girls, then, right?
Ms. KOZAK: At the time, I thought it was just my cousin who was involved.
KING: Did you tell your parents?
Ms. KOZAK: My cousin's mother came to my dad and told him what happened to my cousin, and said that she was going to go to the newspaper if my father didn't go to the bishop and talk to him and ask him to please leave this parish.
KING: Did he go to the bishop?
Ms. KOZAK: He went to the bishop, but he ended up talking to a Monsignor Madeiras [sp?] at the time.
KING: And what happened as the result of that?
Ms. KOZAK: As a result of it, they removed him from the parish that day.
KING: Were you surprised to see all these others come forward?
Ms. KOZAK: Yes, I am surprised that there are so many.
KING: How many are there?
Ms. KOZAK: As far as I know, I would say probably 60 that I know of and-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Sixty-one.
KING: Sixty-one. And you've been living with this trauma all this time, Pat?
Ms. KOZAK: Yes, I have.
KING: We're going to take a break and come back. We'll be joined by two others. We'll be taking your phone calls, as well. This is Larry King Live in Washington. Don't go away.
JOHN ROBITAILLE, Alleged Victim: For these people who come out and say, 'Why don't they let it lie? It happened 30 years ago,' well, in my mind and in my being right now, it happened Thursday. And I've got to deal with this.
KING: Welcome back to Larry King Live. We are talking about extraordinary allegations of sex abuse by a priest. In Washington – Frank Fitzpatrick, who says he was among dozens molested by Father James Porter. In Boston – Pat Kozak, making the same claim. We are now joined by Eric MacLeish, a Massachusetts attorney working with some of the alleged victims. And here with us in Washington is Father Canice Connors, a Catholic therapist who heads a Maryland treatment center for the clergy.
Where does this stand right now, Frank? Are there criminal charges pending?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: There's criminal charges pending. There's also civil action pending. We have a claim against the church for their cover-up. And we're hoping – What I'm hoping, I'm hoping that the church will come forward and support us in prosecuting this guy criminally.
KING: What are they – the church – saying now?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Well, they're not saying a heck of a lot. Originally, they came out and said they thought it was unfortunate the way that this became public, and I'm sure they do think it's unfortunate that it became public.
KING: By 'the church,' do you mean the diocese in Boston?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: The diocese in Fall River.
KING: Fall River?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes.
KING: That covers this area?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes.
KING: Eric, legally, are you handling both the criminal and civil?
ERIC MacLEISH, Alleged Victims' Attorney: No, Larry, I'm not the prosecutor. I'm representing 58 victims of Father Porter at the present time, but I'm working with the district attorney.
KING: What does he say?
Mr. MacLEISH: The district attorney is saying that he's going to make a decision on whether to prosecute this case within the next several weeks. If he does that, it'll go to the grand jury.
KING: He might not prosecute?
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, I think he's going to. There are issues involved in the statute of limitations which he's looking at, but you've got approximately 50 people that have gone to the Bristol County D.A.'s office right now and have given statements alleging they were abused by this man.
KING: How about the authorities in Minnesota?
Mr. MacLEISH: The authorities in Minnesota were looking at three allegations of misconduct, potential molestation, by Father Porter. As far as I'm aware, Larry, that investigation is ongoing at the present time, too.
KING: Now, if charges are brought, he will have to be extradited, right?
Mr. MacLEISH: Yes, he would be extradited to Massachusetts, that's correct.
KING: OK. What does the church do with something like this, Father?
Father CANICE CONNORS, Saint Luke's Institute: Well, first of all, it currently is trying very quickly to respond to any complaint, whatsoever. And as soon as a complaint is heard, it is trying to remove the priest from any possible continuing contact with children, or anyone else for that matter. And then it's trying now to reach out to those who are affected, as he is sitting next to me now – to reach out and say, 'We care about what's happening to you.'
And also, right now, it's trying to say, 'We want to make sure we're doing all the reporting that's required; making sure we're following every inch of the law as required'; and lastly, to respect the confidentiality of everyone that's involved. That's current.
KING: Are you angry at the fact that we know this priest's name? Do you think that's wrong?
Father CONNORS: No, I think now it has come out. It's been a long time. And I think it's good that people who were affected many years ago are finally speaking out and getting that secret out in the open, because that's wrong.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Do you think that people should speak forward?
Father CONNORS: Yes, I do.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Would you encourage people who have been abused by priests to publicly speak about it and to use their names and name them as perpetrators?
Father CONNORS: I think anyone who's been abused as a child ought to speak out. That's the best way to begin the process of healing. Name the one that did it. Absolutely.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, but what I'd like to see is, I'd like to see a policy by the church in general, though, overall, because right now, as you know, it's diocese by diocese. Each bishop has control over what goes on in his diocese.
KING: There is no Catholic policy on this?
Mr. MacLEISH: No, there is no Catholic policy, Larry. What Frank said is absolutely right. Some dioceses, like the diocese in Chicago, have very progressive policies. Other dioceses, when they discover this – They simply transfer the priests from parish to parish. So there is not one policy of the Catholic Church.
KING: Why not a uniform policy, Father?
Father CONNORS: Because I think there are 188 separate jurisdictions. There is no one Catholic jurisdiction in the United States. Each diocese is-
KING: But there is a hierarchy in the church, is there not?
Father CONNORS: Yes, there is a central here in Washington, the Conference of Bishops. It has been addressing this-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Have you a guy over in Rome somewhere?
Father CONNORS: Yes-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes.
Father CONNORS: -but the problem so far has been focused clearly here in the United States. That's where it has been publicized. And there is a position-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: That's where people have spoken out.
Father CONNORS: There is a position-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: The people in the other countries are too repressed to speak out. It's a problem everywhere.
KING: In this case, Frank, are you saying that there was a cover-up by the church?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: There definitely was a cover-up by the church. There's no question about it.
Mr. MacLEISH: That's really uncontroverted at this point, Larry. You have this man being transferred first to Fall River after people came forward to complain; then from Fall River he was again put in charge of the altar boys and then he molested them – I represent some of those individuals; transferred again to New Bedford where he molested yet a third set of people. I mean, this was outrageous. And the problem is it's still happening today in some dioceses – not all, but some.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: And the priests were aware of it in New Bedford.
Father CONNORS: There's no doubt that 30 years ago we were treating it as if it were a moral problem: slapped the priest on the wrist, tried to give him a pep talk; say he won't do it again, and transfer him.
KING: And put him in charge of other boys?
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, what about Louisiana?
Father CONNORS: Thirty years ago, that was really what was happening-
KING: Hold on-
Father CONNORS: Now the-
Mr. MacLEISH: What about-
KING: Hold on.
Father CONNORS: Now, the church has learned what we all have about the problem, and we're trying to rectify both by reason of more information, by reason of changing attitude, by reason of educating ourselves as the whole country has been educated. This is a major problem. Two hundred thousand kids-
KING: You're saying the church is more enlightened.
And Frank, you're looking like you don't believe this.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, but it's a piecemeal thing that's going on here. And Eric was about to mention Louisiana. I think he's talking about the father – is it Gaulthier [sp?] or something, that was down there?
Mr. MacLEISH: Yes, that's right.
Father CONNORS: That was one of the worst cases.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: The guy that molested 150 kids, or something, down there.
KING: And did they cover that up?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: That's recent, isn't it? Isn't that recent?
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, what-
KING: Hold it. Hold it. One at a time.
Father CONNORS: Most recent is Bishop Flynn [sp?], who is now the head of that diocese. He's gone to every single family and every single victim, and meets with all the victims annually to work on that issue.
KING: Pat, do you feel the church is now involved?
Ms. KOZAK: Oh, definitely, definitely. I would hope that they keep getting involved.
KING: Is there a lot of this going on, Father Connors? 'A lot' would be your own definition.
Father CONNORS: Well, no, I think there are 53,000 priests and 6,000 brothers. As far as we know, in the entire United States there has been reported up to now, maximally, about 300 cases. Now, that doesn't-
Mr. MacLEISH: That's not an accurate statistic-
Father CONNORS: One case is too many, OK? Now, accuracy-
KING: You're saying, Eric, it's a lot more? How do you know?
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, there was a study by a former priest named Richard Sipe [sp?] in 1985 who – on a conservative estimate, 6 percent of all Catholic priests. That's 52,000. That translates into 3,000. You take into account that the average pedophile could have as many as 300 victims. The reality is that most of this is not reported, but the Sipe study is the best one that I've seen that estimates the number of priests who are engaging in this.
Father CONNORS: Concerning that study, it was done on a known population of persons who were going through therapy, also talking to persons who'd been afflicted. It would be something like walking in a cancer ward and because the first five patients you meet say the whole ward-
KING: Would it help if the Pope were to make a statement that any such reporting like this should cause – Well, you don't want to take an innocent priest and harm him.
Father CONNORS: No.
KING: But that the church should take action?
Father CONNORS: Certainly. Our church is taking action. The National Conference of Bishops has talked about this five separate times, the most recent being last week at Notre Dame.
KING: I've got to get a break and come back. We're going to start-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: And still, nothing's been done.
KING: We're going to start to include phone calls. This is Larry King Live.
Tomorrow night, Andrew Morton is here. He's the author of that new book on Princess Di. And don't forget – Thursday night, the Attorney General of the United States, William Barr. We'll be back with your calls, after this.
DAN LYONS, Alleged Victim: He had his forearm right around my throat and my face ground into the carpet, and he was relentlessly fondling both my front and rear areas.
JUDY MULLETT, Alleged Victim: Other priests in our parish knew, and did nothing. We weren't important enough. What was more important was their prestige.
KING: Welcome back to Larry King Live with Frank Fitzpatrick, an alleged victim of Father James Porter; another alleged victim, in Boston, is Pat Kozak; also in Boston is Eric MacLeish, the attorney who is representing 58 people who claim to have been molested by the former priest; and Father Canice Connors, president/chief executive officer of Saint Luke's Institute. That is a treatment center for the Catholic clergy. We're going to go to your calls.
Great Mills, Maryland, hello.
1st CALLER: [Great Mills, Maryland] Hello. Mr. Fitzpatrick, you had spoken to the gentleman at great length, apparently. And in the excerpt we'd heard, he had spoken of having a sickness. In your conversation, did he express that this was a past sickness and it's over, or did he express remorse to you in any way?
KING: Yes, what did he say?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Oh, OK. As a matter of fact, he did say it was a past sickness. He said he was cured. As a matter of fact, what he said was he said he was cured by – basically, by leaving the priesthood, he said. I guess he said changing his job cured him.
KING: You didn't buy that?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I didn't buy that. And it's obvious that changing your job won't cure that.
KING: You also appear to have no compassion for him at all, right?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: You know, it's funny. Actually, I do have a little bit of compassion for him, but – because he's such a con artist. I think he's able to con that into me. But the guy is still molesting children now.
KING: How do you know?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Because three people have come forward in Minnesota.
KING: That say he's doing it there?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: They say he's doing it there, yes.
KING: Have they filed charges in Minnesota?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, they have. Yes.
KING: Pat, do you have any feelings for Mr. Porter?
Ms. KOZAK: No, I don't have any feelings, whatsoever. I've lived with this all my life and just realized now why I've always felt embarrassed and didn't particularly think highly of myself.
KING: I understand.
Houston, Texas, hello.
2nd CALLER: [Houston, Texas] Yes, Larry. My question is for Father Connors. Why is it that the church that requests – teaches penance and all the teachings that it does, when it becomes aware of people that have been victimized by priests, why is it that most frequently it takes the legal system before the church is willing to do anything in terms of helping these people out?
Father CONNORS: I believe the church did need the prompting and the force of the legal system to bring itself into a consciousness of how serious this problem is – that it's not a moral issue; it's a real problem of the whole person and has to be treated. It did take that stimulus. I grant that. But we are changing. We're taking the complaints and we're trying to move on them and do something positive. But there were mistakes in the past. There are some, perhaps, that are still being committed, but we are trying to change.
KING: Do you gather there was a lot of it?
Father CONNORS: Well, again, if it's one it would be too many.
Father CONNORS: Yes. But there were – Certainly, it was going on. It's been reported. And we're trying to deal with it.
KING: Is one of the problems the nature of the church, itself, that it is kind of a – if not a hierarchy, it's controlled by the bishop? There's no congregation of parishioners who can say, 'Goodbye' to the bishop.
Father CONNORS: Well, I'm not quite sure, when you say-
KING: Well, a congregation in other sects-
Father CONNORS: Yes, right.
KING: -can investigate in and of itself, as a congregation. You can't.
Father CONNORS: No, but now we do have a policy of how to respond to the problem when it is reported, and that's-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Wait a minute. Who has a policy? Who has a policy?
Mr. MacLEISH: There's no policy.
Father CONNORS: Most of the 188 dioceses do have a policy now.
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, many of them don't.
Father CONNORS: It would be the exception that would not have a policy.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: But there has to be a unified policy by the entire Catholic Church which is enforced in all the dioceses.
KING: Eric, you're saying many don't have a policy?
Mr. MacLEISH: Many policies – Let's go to Chicago in 1991, which led to this great commission that the Father is talking about. In 1990 in the Chicago diocese there was a man who had been accused, and I think that he had admitted that he'd molested children. He was in treatment for a couple of years and then he was released back into the parish, supposedly fine. And he molested another person.
I mean, right now there are priests in parishes in the United States – not in every parish, but in many – where they're identified as pedophiles, and the way to resolve it is to simply transfer. That's just unacceptable.
KING: Mason City, Iowa, hello.
3rd CALLER: [Mason City, Iowa] Yes, I have a question for the Father. First of all, I want to say to Frank and Pat that I really admire your courage for coming out and speaking up. I am also a victim of a monsignor and a sister, a nun. And I want to ask the priest: How can you be sure that this is not going on at any great frequency, if the children that are being molested for a large part are being threatened or whatever, held down, by a man who is supposed to be a representative of God?
KING: Yes. A kid must be frightened. I would imagine they're afraid to come forward.
Father CONNORS: That's what makes it such a terrible thing, because the priest's position, his dress and everything else, represents power, represents – even the title, 'Father.' It makes the offense even more abusive, I grant that. And that's why the church is acting so assiduously now.
KING: Well, how do you get the kid to come forward?
Father CONNORS: Well, I think in the case of – This is a problem that's beyond just the priesthood. It is a problem in our society. I think by such shows as this, encouraging people – And I agree with the caller that persons who have come forward ought to be congratulated.
KING: OK, but a 6-year-old might not be watching this show and might not-
Father CONNORS: That's true.
Mr. MacLEISH: Well, you have to create a climate. You have to create a climate where people feel comfortable about coming forward.
Father CONNORS: I agree.
Mr. MacLEISH: I mean, there has to be education within the church that, 'It's not OK to be touched, it doesn't make any difference by whom.'
Father CONNORS: That's right.
Mr. MacLEISH: The church has to work on creating that climate, and I don't think that it's done enough, quite frankly.
Father CONNORS: We can never do enough. That's for sure.
Ms. KOZAK: Larry?
KING: Yes, Pat?
Ms. KOZAK: This is the reason why we're here, is to bring this out, let children speak up.
KING: All right, let me get a break and come back. We're going to hang on for more. And by the way, there is an organization of victims. We don't give numbers out on the program, but if you write to us we'll put you in touch with them. If you have any questions, just write to Larry King Live in Washington. We'll be right back with more on CNN. Stay there.
[Recording of telephone conversation:]
JAMES PORTER: I can't explain it, you know, but then I guess I did. You know, and don't think that I take that lightly. I mean, I know – God Almighty, I mean, it – it – It could make you sick. If I just keep dwelling on it, I could end up, you know, and go crazy.
KING: Let's get right back to your calls on Larry King Live.
Greenwich, Connecticut, hello. Greenwich, hello. Go ahead.
4th CALLER: [New York, New York] He's asking for Greenwich, Connecticut.
KING: Yes, are you Greenwich?
4th CALLER: No, I'm in New York city.
KING: All right, go ahead, New York.
4th CALLER: I have a comment, and I hope that they'll comment on my comment.
KING: Go ahead.
4th CALLER: As a gay man, adult man, who's been in a monogamous relationship for 20 years, I notice all the Vatican pronouncements on how immoral we are for what we do as adults, including practically saying we should be beat up for it. How dare you, sir? How dare you?
KING: Father Connors, he has a point, does he not? The church comes out so strongly against the homosexual, and here it practices items like this.
Father CONNORS: Well, it certainly never approves items like this. It's also condemning this outright. The church has never approved it. It's considered a major, major moral fault. And now we understand it's more than a moral fault. It's psychological illness. So that it should be both treated and, of course, condemned. It's in no way saying we approve this, whether we approve any priest. If only one priest did it, it would make it wrong.
KING: Are you satisfied, Pat, that the church is now doing enough?
Ms. KOZAK: Am I satisfied? I would say-
KING: All right, you can think about it.
Ms. KOZAK: I'm not sure if they're doing enough.
KING: You don't have to answer.
Ms. KOZAK: I'm not sure.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, they're not doing enough. There has to be an enforcement. There have to be regulations put in place and they have to be enforced and they have to be monitored. Those three things have to be put into effect. And not just talk, action.
KING: You are very caught up in this, Frank. For example, you have in your pocket the tape when you taped Mr. Porter on the phone.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes, I have a copy of it. Yes.
KING: Why are you so wrapped up in it? I mean, it was many years ago. Obviously, it's come to the forefront. Wouldn't it be healthier to put this away?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: No, it wouldn't be healthy. It's very unhealthy to put it away until it's been resolved, until it's been stopped. Because I can't put it away while it's happening to other children out there now.
KING: So in other words, if Mr. Porter – If they don't bring charges against him, you're going to stay this way-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes.
KING: -in a kind of hyper condition-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Yes.
KING: -for want of a better term-
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Well, for the rest of my life, yes.
Mr. MacLEISH: Larry?
Mr. FITZPATRICK: I intend to stay on top of this and keep working on it forever.
Mr. MacLEISH: Larry, it's interesting that what's happened – This really isn't an unusual case. It's only unusual that all of these people have come together for essentially fortuitous reasons. But the average pedophile has 300 victims, and it's not at all unusual for victims of sexual abuse to come to the realization in some cases that they were abused. Some people have amnesia about it. That's why we need to lengthen the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and for bringing civil actions, because these people coming to this realization – It's not unusual. I do a lot of this work. We see it every day, and psychologists and psychiatrists do.
KING: Let me get in another call. Staten Island, New York, hello.
5th CALLER: [Staten Island, New York] Hello, Larry.
5th CALLER: My name is Bob. I'm calling now because I'd like to ask the priest why all of a sudden now are you coming out with this when 10 years ago – I grew up in an orphanage, and it was quite prevalent.
KING: Prevalent? Father?
Father CONNORS: I think we're coming out with it now because if we become conscious then we can begin to take actions. In no way am I saying that any action in the past was ever approved or should have happened. I am saying that now, when there is – necessarily, we become more conscious of it, then we are trying to do something about it.
KING: Isn't it safe to assume that it must have happened a lot, if we're getting calls like this?
Father CONNORS: Yes, I think it did happen.
Mr. MacLEISH: That's the whole problem. Father, when you talk about there only being 300 documented cases in the country, you know that that's not right. I mean, where has the church been? You know that there are many more victims out there who were too afraid to come forward. When Father Porter molested these children he said to them afterwards, 'God is watching you, and you've done a terrible thing.'
You know there are more victims out there. To deal with the problem, you have to acknowledge it, so how can you say there are just 300 cases?
KING: All right, last call – Rockford, Illinois, hello.
6th CALLER: [Rockford, Illinois] Hello. I would just like to say that the implication is that this is exclusively something that's going on with the Catholic Church. I'm a former high school English teacher and, believe me, it's going on in all churches – ministers, married ministers, single ministers – and among school teachers, especially in our sex-education classes. This is a terrible thing. It is country-wide-
KING: All right, but that is a broader topic, and one we will cover.
I thank you all very much for coming.
Mr. FITZPATRICK: Thank you, Larry.
Ms. KOZAK: Thanks, Larry.
KING: We'll come back and we'll meet – There's an extraordinary problem occurring in South Carolina. There are people practicing their religion by shouting it. Is that freedom of speech if it bothers others? That's next. Don't go away.
STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] How loud can you be when you love God?
ANNOUNCER: Coming up: High-decibel fire and brimstone divide an otherwise sleepy southern town.
Street Preaching: Religious Freedom or Nuisance?
KING: A program reminder: Ross Perot is holding a press conference tomorrow afternoon at 2:00. CNN cameras will be there.
The sleepy serenity of Beaufort, South Carolina, is gone. Beaufort has become a mecca for public street preaching. Some say it's the Lord's work. The press treats it as a side show. Shopkeepers, however, say it's downright unfunny – bad for business; free speech gone too far. A new noise law hasn't quelled the religions fervor. So, with the right to speak one's mind up against the right to peace and quiet, we have a dilemma.
And we welcome Wayne and Stephen Williamson. They are a father and son preaching team who frequent Beaufort and other South Carolina cities. Also here in Washington is Roger Connor, and he is from the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities.
Will you explain, Wayne, why you street preach?
WAYNE WILLIAMSON, Street Preacher: Well, Larry, we street preach because, you know, the word of God tells us to go out on the highways and hedges and compel them to come in and preach. The Apostle Paul preached on the streets. Lord Jesus Christ preached to the multitude of 5,000. And it's also part of the training for our Bible college in our church.
KING: Why Beaufort?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Well, Beaufort – It's where it started at with the ordinance that – Beaufort took the ordinance that Maryland had, which was the Haynes [sp?] case. And it's identical to the Maryland case, except where they had 'residence' in there they went and put – How is that worded? 'Residence or city or public.'
KING: So you're there to test that law?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: We're there to test that law for the simple reason we preach all over the state of South Carolina.
KING: And nobody bothers you but Beaufort?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Nobody has bothered us until this incident in Beaufort came up. Then my son has been arrested twice in Columbia since it all started in Beaufort.
KING: How old are you, Stephen?
STEPHEN WILLIAMSON, Street Preacher: Twenty years old.
KING: And you've been doing this for how long?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Four years.
KING: What does it accomplish?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: First of all, when Jesus Christ saved my soul and he changed my life, made me a new creature, delivered me from my sin – And the peace that I found in Jesus Christ I want to go and share with the others that they might have the same peace, might be delivered from the bondage of sin that they're in and might have eternal life instead of eternal damnation. And that's my sole purpose.
KING: So, for want of a better term, would you say you scream?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: 'Scream'? No, sir, I'd say that I lift up my voice. I raise my voice.
KING: And you yell?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Yes, sir.
KING: On the corner?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Yes, sir, on the sidewalks.
KING: Not in shopping centers?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
KING: Not in stores?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
KING: On the sidewalk?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: On the sidewalk.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: On the sidewalk.
KING: People can stop and listen, or walk by?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Or walk away.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: That's right.
KING: Roger, what's wrong with that?
ROGER CONNOR, Conservative Legal Activist: Well, the issue is not whether there can be street preaching in Beaufort. There's been street preaching in Beaufort for almost 20 years. No one's ever objected to it. The issue is whether people can have the right to shout at the top of their lungs for an unlimited period of time. And the issue really isn't a question of rights, Larry, but it's a question of a failure of responsibilities. This is one more example of Americans who take what they feel to be their rights and want to carry them to the absolute logical extreme, regardless of the impact on others.
We've got a big multiracial, multiethnic society, and if we're going to get along we're going to have to start recalling one of the admonitions that I've found in the Bible, which is, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
We need to understand that Beaufort has a small downtown. It's a small town, two blocks long. Saturday is market day. And we have a downtown that had run down, started to be built back up. And now crowds and the townspeople are starting to use this little area as a common space. The preachers are asserting that they have the right to shout. And, as you know, a person with a trained voice can occupy a very large space, and they do. They assert the right to monopolize this public space, taking away the opportunities for others to utilize this space.
KING: So in other words-
MR. CONNOR: The shame of it is – Just one more thought. The shame of it is this whole controversy – this whole lawsuit should never have been brought. On April 28th, the judge in this case suspended the original jail sentences that had been issued. The lead minister, Reverend Baker [sp?], agreed to sit down with a mediator, with the city attorney, the merchants, to sit down – instead of litigate, to mediate, which is exactly what should have been done.
Unfortunately, the ACLU entered the picture. The ministers hardened their hearts. And now, it's sort of a legal equivalent of a fight to the death all the way to the Supreme Court. This case should not be litigated. It should be mediated.
KING: Now, what you're saying, Roger, is that the common area is one that people have to walk away from because they can't be around the shouting?
MR. CONNOR: That's exactly right. And it's a small area. This happens to be a small town. This is not New York city.
KING: OK. Why not mediate it, Stephen?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Well, you also have the point there that, you know, the preachers have tried to meet with the merchants. They have agreed to a 30-minute preaching session on Saturday. We'd hire our own people to monitor the noise level. The merchants say, 'No, this isn't acceptable.'
KING: Why isn't that acceptable, Roger?
MR. CONNOR: Well, in my view, what our guest here has just said is extremely important. And the reason I believe that what needs to be done is mediation where you have a neutral third party to conduct that mediation – because, see, what I hear from the merchants and the townspeople is that they've offered to sit down at the table and to discuss some sort of compromise but the ministers walked away and brought in 50 people to operate as a tag-team all day long. And so what's happened is anger has entered the picture. The lawyers – The gladiators are on the scene. They need to take them out of the room-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Roger, I assure you that I have no anger for any of the merchants. I pray for their souls every night. But the merchants and the preachers did sit down and talk. Judge Tupper [sp?] mediated between those. Also, you know, the merchant says, 'Go preach in the waterfront park-'
KING: Is that what the merchants said? 'Don't preach near the-'
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Right. They said, 'Go preach in the park.' So we requested a permit to preach in the waterfront park. The city denied us permission to preach there. You know, the preachers don't have a problem sitting down negotiating anything. But when I get on the street to preach, when trucks come by and drown out my voice, I want people to hear me from one end of that street to the other.
KING: Stephen, does it bother you that some of this can annoy people; I mean, obviously, that they get visibly annoyed by what you're doing?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: No, sir. First of all, they're complaining – Our contention is that it's not the noise. It's the content of the message.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Right.
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Because they will allow-
KING: You mean, if you were screaming something else, they would-
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Oh, sure. They'll allow rock-and-roll bands in their street. They'll allow parades with loud music and horns and bells. Their contention is they have the right to unwanted noise. In other words, if this noise they like, no matter how loud it is-
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: -they can keep it. But if they don't like the noise, then they can get rid of it. And that's totally against our Constitution.
KING: Roger, is that selective noise?
MR. CONNOR: Well, the people that we've talked to in Beaufort – There's obviously a difference in perception of what's going on here, Larry. Because what the ministers – perhaps not these two that are here. It's a disorganized group that the townspeople are up against. But the ministers, the ones that are in jail, have asserted that they have the right to operate as a tag-team, to have a dozen or 20 ministers standing side-by-side go at the top of their lungs till they're exhausted or hoarse, and then the next one comes up and he continues to go, eight hours a day on Saturday. And Saturday is the meeting time for the people in this town.
KING: I've got you. So that would be like 25 rock bands going all day Saturday-
MR. CONNOR: Exactly.
KING: -not stopping, at top pitch.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: That's not right, though, Roger. If you'll go back-
MR. CONNOR: It's not a reasonable use of a public resource-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: If you'll visit Beaufort-
MR. CONNOR: -that's what I'm concerned about.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Right, but if you go to Beaufort, yourself, and stand there – Have you been there to listen to the preaching on the streets?
MR. CONNOR: No, I have not been to Beaufort to listen to the preachers on the streets.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: OK, I've been there. We had 30-something preachers, and all 30 of them preached in less than two hours.
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Never been there eight hours.
KING: Never been. All right, let me get a break and come back and we'll take some phone calls. This is Larry King Live.
Tomorrow night – Andrew Morton. He's written that book on Princess Di. We're also going to look into allegations about dealings with Saddam Hussein right up to the beginning of the Gulf war. And Attorney General William Barr is here Thursday. Don't go away.
1ST STREET PREACHER: [Being placed in handcuffs and led away by police] You can put cuffs on the street preachers, but you can't put cuffs on the word of God!
2ND STREET PREACHER: [Being led away by police] It despises God! It hates God!
3RD STREET PREACHER: [Being led away by police] The day of judgment is coming!
KING: With Stephen and Wayne Williamson – young Stephen; Wayne is his father. They are father and son street preachers in Beaufort, South Carolina. And, Roger Connor of the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities.
We'll go to some phone calls, and the first call is from Beaufort, South Carolina. Hello.
7th CALLER: [Beaufort, South Carolina] Hello.
7th CALLER: Good evening. I just want to say that everything Mr. Williamson has said – senior – so far – and junior – has been distorted and sugar-coated. It is not the content. It is the volume of noise. When the noise can be heard from 135 feet away inside a closed shop behind closed – I mean, inside the closed doors of a shop and in a second room back behind the main shop, and the police dispatcher can hear the noise over the telephone, that's too noisy.
KING: Are you a shopkeeper, ma'am?
7th CALLER: I am.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: That's right.
KING: OK. Wayne?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: First of all, her doors are never closed. They're closed till we get there, and then Ms. Rhett [sp?] will open her doors-
KING: You know this lady?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Yes, sir.
KING: She opens her doors to hear the noise?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: She opens it. And she says she don't like it, but she'll open her door after we get there.
KING: Why do you do that, ma'am?
7th CALLER: It depends on the weather, whether we open the doors or not. Usually, we try to keep our doors open because it's a gesture of welcome.
MR. CONNOR: Well, I'd just like to say here that you can see the divergence of views.
But I'd just like to ask Rev. Williams [sic] here if he would be willing – If a neutral third-party mediator would be willing to come and if the merchants and the city attorney and the residents would be willing to sit down, would you be willing to bring the ministers to the table with a neutral mediator to see if a mediated solution to this can be found?
KING: Would you?
MR. CONNOR: Would you be willing to do that?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Yes, I'd be glad to meet with the merchants.
MR. CONNOR: No, I-
KING: Well, now, wait a minute, now.
MR. CONNOR: No, no-
KING: Maybe we're going to solve this right here.
MR. CONNOR: Because, see, here's the problem right now, is that Rev. Williams' [sic] lawyer-
MR. CONNOR: I'm sorry. Rev. Williamson's lawyer is asserting to the court that the other members of the group have an absolute right to yell as loud as they can for as long as they can any place that they want to in the little town-
KING: OK, now-
MR. CONNOR: -but what I'm saying is I believe, and I hope, that the other parts of the ministers agree with the perspective we hear here-
KING: Do you think they might, Wayne?
MR. CONNOR: Would he be willing to help bring them to the table? That's what's needed in this case.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Like I told you before, they've already met several times before-
MR. CONNOR: Well, actually, I'm sorry they-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: -with a third-party mediator.
MR. CONNOR: No, they didn't, because there was a mediation scheduled-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: That we had made.
MR. CONNOR: -that had to be canceled. They had one meeting.
KING: Well, let me say, instead of harping on that-
MR. CONNOR: They had one meeting and then, unfortunately, it was canceled-
KING: Hold it.
Instead of harping on that, would you be willing to get your fellow preachers to sit down with the merchants and a mediator and work this out?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Yes, I'd be glad to sit down with the merchants and try to get the rest of the preachers to sit down with the merchants.
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: Right.
KING: Stephen, would you?
MR. CONNOR: We will be in touch with you tomorrow and-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: But the thing about it is I have a-
MR. CONNOR: -we'll try to find a neutral third party-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Right, but Roger, I have a problem. You seem to know some knowledge about the case, but you never went to Beaufort to find out firsthand.
MR. CONNOR: Well, you know, what I've done is I've read all the legal briefs. I've talked to a lot of people and done plenty of investigation on both sides and the thing-
KING: Well, maybe you ought to go down, Roger.
MR. CONNOR: I want to-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Right, but also, even with the media-
MR. CONNOR: But here's my point. My point is this case, Larry, goes a long way beyond Beaufort. The ACLU is what's driving this case-
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
MR. CONNOR: -and they're the ones supplying the lawyer.
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: No, sir.
MR. CONNOR: And it is their position, which is being carried – The lawyer has filed the briefs. I've read them, Reverend, and their briefs say there's an absolute right to go as loud as you can for as long as you can. And we just can't have a country as big, multiracial, multicultural a society as this – If everybody's going to use their rights to the absolute logical extreme, it won't work.
KING: OK, the young often have answers. What's your answer, Stephen, to this?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: First of all, if we met, I would not compromise as far as my commission in the word of God-
KING: You'd continue to yell?
Mr. STEPHEN WILLIAMSON: -or as my First Amendment. First of all, the Supreme Court has ruled that a human voice cannot exceed everyday traffic and the average noise that goes on in a downtown. First of all, we know that businesses would not go set up their business in a place where there's no public. The business comes to the public where the traffic is, the same way the preachers – We come to the public. They're there to sell and get the public's money. We're there to preach to the folks.
And they're saying that, first of all, the merchants were there first. They have the rights. You know, I mean, first of all, it's the public, and the merchants and the preachers come to the public for two different reasons. But first of all, I'm not – Their ordinance says that we are willfully disturbing their business. That's what we're found guilty of: willfully disturbing. I've never willfully disturbed their business.
KING: All right, let me get a break and come back with Roger Connor and Wayne and Stephen Williamson on Larry King Live. Don't go away.
1ST STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] Go to church!
1ST POLICE OFFICER: Excuse me, sir-
1ST STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] But I wonder – I wonder what you think about God!
1ST POLICE OFFICER: Sir, this is a warning-
2ND STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] You must be born again!
2ND POLICE OFFICER: Put your hands behind your back, please, sir-
2ND STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] You must be born again!
3RD POLICE OFFICER: You are under arrest-
3RD STREET PREACHER: [Shouting] I don't give a – [screams] – Amen!
KING: Huntsville, Alabama – quickly – hello.
8th CALLER: [Huntsville, Alabama] Yes, I'd like to ask Wayne how Jesus Christ can use him to save people's souls when he's blatantly offending them when he first meets them and can't even make a friend?
Mr. WAYNE WILLIAMSON: Well, sir, that's your opinion, that I'm blatantly offending them. You know, I can name you hundreds of people that's been saved by street preaching at a loud tone like that.
KING: All right, let's hope that Roger and Wayne and Stephen and the merchants sit down and this is accorded and worked out without having to go through the courts. That might be a nice thing to see. And I thank you all for coming. We have run out of time.
See you in an hour on The Larry King Show on Mutual Radio; back here tomorrow night with Andrew Morton, author of the book about Princess Di.
Susan Rook and Patrick Greenlaw are standing by in Atlanta. They'll co-anchor the world news.
Susan, what's up?
SUSAN ROOK, 'WorldNews': Larry, a thousand people mob the courthouse as Mafia boss John Gotti gets sentenced for a life of crime. Also, the search for answers – What really happened to American servicemen missing from the Korean War? And the real scoop on oat bran – the medical controversy that just won't go away. WorldNews is next.
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