A former Jesuit priest and teacher at Cheverus High School who was charged last month with child sexual assault dating to 1998 has posted bail and returned to Missouri, where he’s been living for the last six years.

Walt McKee, an attorney for James Francis Talbot, 80, said his client posted bail in the amount of $50,000 cash. He was then sent back to the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri, a Catholic Church-run residential facility for troubled priests or former priests, many of whom have been accused of sex abuse.

Talbot, who pleaded not guilty during his initial appearance on Dec. 1, is not scheduled to appear in court again until February.

The longtime Cheverus teacher was indicted by a grand jury last month on charges of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, and unlawful sexual contact, a Class C crime. The charges stem from allegations by a Freeport man who said Talbot abused him on several occasions when he was 9 years old. The alleged abuse occurred at St. Jude Church in Freeport, where Talbot was a visiting priest.

The same victim settled a lawsuit last summer. The Press Herald does not name victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

Talbot has a lengthy history of child sexual abuse dating to when he taught at Boston College High School, another Jesuit school, and continuing to when he arrived at Cheverus in 1980.

He was terminated by the Portland school in 1998 after allegations were made by another victim. Michael Doherty, also from Freeport, said Talbot abused him both at Cheverus and at the rectory of a church in Yarmouth in the mid-80s.

Doherty sued Talbot, Cheverus, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Jesuits, an order within the Catholic Church. The lawsuit was settled in 2000 for an undisclosed sum.

Talbot was never charged with a crime for his abuse of Doherty because it fell outside the state’s statute of limitations, which has since been changed.

After Doherty went public, though, numerous other victims of Talbot came forward, mostly from his time in Boston. In 2003, 15 of them had settled lawsuits totaling more than $5 million.

Meanwhile, reports of abuse by Talbot at BC High led to criminal charges against Talbot in Massachusetts. He was sentenced to five to seven years in prison in 2005 and served six years. Since his release in 2011, he’s been living in Missouri.

Jim Scanlan was one the victims from BC High whose report of abuse led to the charges against Talbot, although he did not publicly discuss the abuse until late 2015, after viewing the movie “Spotlight,” which is based on The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the church’s abuse scandal.

Scanlan, in a recent interview, said he attended one of Talbot’s parole hearings in Massachusetts in 2009. Scanlan said he heard his alleged abuser make a startling confession that he had victimized as many as “88 or 89” children in his life.

He said Talbot’s recent arrest has stirred up emotions for him.

“One of things that I struggle with most is the feeling that people at Cheverus knew about this guy and didn’t protect kids from him,” Scanlan said.

After his indictment in late November, Talbot was extradited to Maine and was held at the Cumberland County Jail.

McKee, Talbot’s attorney, said he knows who posted bail for his client but it’s confidential. At Talbot’s initial court appearance this month, McKee said his client was “penniless.”

It’s likely, though, that the money came from the Jesuits, who have assumed responsibility for Talbot even though he was laicized by the church, which means he no longer is a priest.

Cheverus put out a statement after Talbot’s arrest.

“James Talbot was employed by Cheverus High School from 1980-1998, and was removed from employment after the revelation of sexual abuse of a minor. That revelation was a very sad and troubling part of our history, and one that compelled us to increase our vigilance in preventing sexual abuse,” the statement read. “These measures are in place to prevent sexual abuse at this school, but they can not erase the pain and suffering experienced by the victims of sexual abuse. We will continue to pray for all victims of sexual abuse and offer support to bring healing to these victims of egregious acts.”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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