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Boston Priest Faces Abuse Charges

Sep 18, 2002 | AP

A Jesuit priest and former coach was indicted by a grand jury on charges he sexually abused three students at a prestigious Boston preparatory school in the 1970s.

The Rev. James F. Talbot was charged with one count of rape, one count of assault with intent to rape and five counts of indecent assault and battery, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said Wednesday.

He did not immediately release details from the indictment.

According to The Boston Globe, which reported the indictment in Wednesday editions, the alleged assaults took place during student athletes' practice Saturdays in the locker room of Boston College High School.

The Society of Jesus of New England said in a statement Wednesday that Talbot has had no public ministry since 1998.

It wasn't immediately clear if Talbot had an attorney who could comment. The phone was busy during several calls to the Campion Renewal Center, a Jesuit residence where Talbot lives in Weston.

Talbot, 64, is the third priest to face criminal charges this year in Suffolk County on accusations of molesting minors. He is the first New England priest from the Society of Jesus, one of the Catholic Church's largest religious orders, to be prosecuted since the clergy sex abuse crisis started in January.

"We hope that the indictment of Father Talbot will bring a measure of relief to those students who were victimized by his alleged actions more than 20 years ago," Boston College High principal William J. Kemeza said in a statement. "We have faith that justice will be served."

Allegations against Talbot first became public in 1997, when a man from Maine filed a lawsuit accusing Talbot of molesting him in 1984 and 1985 when he was a student at Cheverus High School in Portland.

No criminal charges were brought in that case because the alleged abuse fell outside the statute of limitations.

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