January 26, 2005

For abuse survivor, a long wait for justice

Portland Press Herald

Bill Nemitz

BOSTON - He never thought he'd actually see it happen. Michael Doherty figured the priest who once molested him would somehow avoid the indignity of the courtroom "perp walk."

But Tuesday morning, as Doherty watched from the front row of Suffolk Superior Court, the Rev. James Talbot rose from his chair at the defense table, turned around to face the court officer standing directly behind him and held out his hands.

On went the handcuffs.

Then, at long last, off went Talbot to prison for the next five to seven years.

"Wow!" Doherty said, tears welling in his eyes, as the court adjourned. "Wow! I didn't think they were going to do it like that."

But they did. The 67-year-old priest, once a revered teacher and coach at Cheverus High School in Portland, had been reduced to a common criminal for all the world to see. And as Doherty, 36, hugged his tearful sister, Courtney Oland, and her husband, Tim, he could not quite believe that his 20-year ordeal was finally over.

"I'm a little shaky," Doherty confessed, forcing a smile.

Posted by kshaw at January 26, 2005 06:47 AM