PORTLAND — A half-dozen protesters gathered outside Cheverus High School in Portland this afternoon to draw parallels between the experience of some former students at the hands of a former teacher and the sexual abuse allegations at Pennsylvania State University.

Former teacher and coach Charles Malia sexually abused six to eight students during his tenure, between 1969 and 1998, and Father James Talbot, who worked there in the 1980s and 1990s, abused two students at Cheverus and others at Boston College High School. In both cases, the criminal statute of limitations had run out.

Penn State’s famed football coach Joe Paterno recently resigned after reports surfaced that he and other administrators were told about a former coach caught sexually assaulting a young boy but took no action.

The protest, organized by an abuse victim, John Clark, also sought to highlight a lack of progress in mediation talks between lawyers for the school and the victims.

Clark said the Jesuit high school’s lawyers had offered to meet for mediation talks, but after several postponements, recently withdrew the offer. That action happened at about the same time as revelations about sexual abuse by a Penn State coach and the lack of action by that school in addressing reports of the abuse.

Clark said the victims are seeking acknowledgment of wrongdoing by Cheverus and a monetary settlement to help compensate for the challenges they have faced since the abuse, including family trouble, substance abuse and difficulty holding a job.

Protesters gathered in front of the school on Ocean Avenue held signs saying “Cheverus is no different than Penn State” and “The pain lasts a lifetime.”

Robert Gossart, a Maine representative of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said vocal protest reduces the chances such cover-ups will happen in the future and gives strength to victims who often feel isolated by their abuse.

In a release announcing the protest, Clark said both Cheverus and Penn State are guilty of “complicity in knowingly allowing a reported child molester to continue having contact with the school and students.”

Cheverus said in a written release issued in advance of the protest: “The recent reports of sexual abuse at Penn State and Syracuse University once again remind us all of the need to be vigilant for the safe keeping of our children.”

An assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University also has been recently accused of sexually abuse of teenagers in the 1980s. He denies the charge.

Regarding Malia and Talbot, the school said:  “Awareness of their abuse came to light in the late 1990s and remains a sad and well publicized part of Cheverus’ past.”

“Cheverus supports the right of these victims to continue to remind us of the events that took place 30 to 40 years ago,” the school said. “It is through continued education and vigilance that we can prevent these abuses from ever happening again.”

The school would not comment on ongoing legal issues.