Former priest sent to prison again for child sexual abuse
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A former Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused a 9-year-old boy at a Maine church in the 1990s is going back to prison after pleading guilty on Monday.
James Talbot, 80, pleaded guilty to gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact under a plea agreement. He will serve three years in prison.
The charges involve a victim whose family were parishioners at St. Jude Church when Talbot was a substitute priest. The victim said in an affidavit in a civil case that Talbot befriended his family and offered religious instruction to him.
Another of Talbot’s accusers, Michael Doherty, of St. Petersburg, Florida, attended Monday’s court appearance to show solidarity with the victim. Doherty, a former student at Cheverus High School, settled a lawsuit against Talbot years ago. The Associated Press typically doesn’t identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Doherty has done.
“A civil suit doesn’t give you that moment where they take him away in handcuffs,” Doherty said.
Talbot has settled lawsuits with more than a dozen victims, including Doherty. Talbot was a former teacher and athletic coach at Boston College High School from 1972 to 1980. He then transferred to Cheverus, in Portland, and remained there until 1998.
Talbot previously spent six years in prison after pleading guilty to raping and sexually assaulting two students in Boston. He was extradited from Missouri, where he was living at a center that provides housing and counseling to priests suspected or convicted of sexual abuse.
Also in attendance at the Monday court appearance was Jim Scanlan, 57, a former Boston College High School student whose report of abuse at Talbot’s hands led to the criminal charges against Talbot in Massachusetts. Scanlan said it took courage for the victim and parents in court Monday to read aloud statements detailing the impact of Talbot’s abuse.
“All the victims of Talbot relived what we went through,” said Scanlan, who now lives in Rhode Island. “How he befriended the family, coaxed us in one-on-one situations and how he raped us. It was emotional and difficult.”
This story has been corrected to add the full charges against Talbot.