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Former Maine priest pleads guilty to sex assault of boy, confronted by victim in court

FILE - James F. Talbot (WGME)

PORTLAND (BDN) -- A former Catholic priest, who already served prison time for molesting boys in Massachusetts, pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in Freeport in the late 1990s.

A judge sentenced James F. Talbot, 80, to 10 years in prison with all but three of those suspended for sexually assaulting a minor under the age of 14, and three years, to be served at the same time, for unlawful sexual contact with a minor under the age of 14.

[Ex-priest fired from Cheverus HS charged with sexual abuse of minor]

The boy Talbot molested, now a 30-year-old man, told a Portland court that the former priest stole his childhood and his faith. “What was supposed to be a man from God … turned out to be a disgusting animal,” he said.

The boy’s parents, who said they were married by Talbot, also spoke before his sentencing, with his mother calling him “the definition of evil.”

“I hope you rot in hell and I hope you die in jail,” the boy’s father said, turning to the former priest. “How can the Catholic Church allow this stuff to go on?”

Invited to by Justice Roland Cole, Talbot declined to address the court or the victims beyond his guilty plea.

Talbot’s sentence was handed down amid a new push to hold predator priests accountable, as law enforcement around the country and world continue to work to bring cases related to the clergy sex abuse initially brought to public attention by reports in the Boston Globe.

Talbot already has served time for assaulting teenage boys while he was their wrestling coach at Boston College High School, according to the Patriot Ledger. He was released in 2011 after serving six years of a five- to seven-year sentence, according to the paper.

A 2002 article in the Globe alleged Talbot “repeatedly” assaulted one student he taught and coached at Cheverus at the boy’s Freeport home.

In previous public statements, Cheverus officials acknowledged Talbot’s crimes, calling them, in part, “a sad and well-publicized part of Cheverus’ past.”

[Cheverus: Accusations against priest led to increased vigilance]

“The current board of trustees, the administration, the faculty and the staff acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by those who continue to endure the effects of the sexual abuse perpetrated upon them” by Talbot and another longtime teacher, Cheverus officials said in a statement released in response to demonstrations at the school in 2011.

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