A former Redmond charter school principal who disappeared before the start of his sex abuse trial in October was captured Friday by federal authorities in Kentucky.
Michael Richard Tallman faces life in prison for allegedly abusing a third former student.
In October, Tallman — who also goes by Michael Bremont — went missing days before he was to stand trial on charges he sexually abused a 17-year-old student at Redmond Proficiency Academy. At the time, Tallman was the 36-year-old head of the school.
Friday, members of a U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, acting an a warrant out of Deschutes County, surrounded Tallman’s parked RV in Paducah, a town in western Kentucky on the Illinois border. He reportedly attempted to run from the motor home and was quickly captured, according to Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers.
“We are excited for Mr. Bremont to have his opportunity to have his day in court,” Chambers said, using Tallman’s original last name. “It means a great deal to the victims in this case.”
Tallman’s first wife divorced him in 2012 after his first arrest for sex abuse. After remarrying, he legally took his new wife’s last name in 2017.
Redmond Police and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s investigator, Adam Hayman, dedicated significant hours to the case, according to District Attorney John Hummel. The Bend office of the FBI eventually passed a tip to the U.S. Marshal Service that Tallman was possibly in Kentucky.
“We hounded him every step of the way,” Hummel said.
Tallman remains an inmate of the McCracken County jail in Kentucky. He faces local charges of evading police and resisting arrest, which could potentially delay criminal proceedings in Oregon.
Chambers said Redmond Police is investigating whether Tallman was assisted locally in his run from the law.
Tallman was arrested in his current case in late 2017, but his criminal record dates to 2012. This is his third sex abuse trial in six years.
Before 2012, though, he was known in Deschutes County as a successful school administrator who served as vice principal at Redmond High School before co-founding RPA, an alternative charter school, in 2009.
His first conviction — handed down in 2012 — was for sexually abusing a former RPA student between 2009 and 2010. The case involved contact with the 15-year-old girl that began as flirting text messages and led to sex abuse in his motor home on a school trip.
A second conviction occurred after that investigation uncovered a prior sexual relationship with an underage student at Central Linn High School in Halsey, where Tallman was principal in 2005 and 2006. A woman said Tallman had raped and sodomized her when she attended Central Linn. He was convicted of two counts of second-degree sex abuse and given six months in prison.
Another conviction, in 2012, was for first-degree theft for stealing $3,000 in equipment from RPA.
He’d serve 14 months of a 21-month prison sentence before being released in 2014 for good behavior.
Later that year, he was arrested and sent back to prison for violating his parole by leaving the state.
Also in 2014, he was arrested for eluding a trooper on his motorcycle at high speeds on state Highway 126.
Along with one count of attempting to elude police, he pleaded no contest to one of identity theft for possessing several forms of identification under a fake name.
Tallman worked at the academy until his first arrest in April 2012. A Bulletin investigation that year revealed he profited from a consulting side business while serving as the school’s director.
In his current case, Tallman faces 10 felony charges, all of second-degree sexual abuse.
He had pleaded not guilty and his lawyers were preparing to take his case to a jury when, five days before trial, Tallman allegedly removed his GPS ankle monitor and absconded. A warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court.
When authorities searched his home in Redmond, they found his ankle monitor in the garage and most of his possessions gone.
If convicted, Tallman could face life in prison under Oregon’s three strikes law for felony sex offenses.
Hummel has said he hasn’t decided whether to pursue a life sentence.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org