Former Fort Atkinson priest faces child sex assault charges - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former Fort Atkinson priest faces child sex assault charges

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JEFFERSON (WKOW) - A Madison Catholic priest is charged with six felony crimes, accused of sexually victimizing a teenage boy more than a decade ago in Forth Atkinson.

64-year old William A. Nolan appeared in Jefferson County Court Thursday via video conference from the county jail.

While Nolan is charged with a half dozen counts of sexual assault of a child under 16 years of age, a criminal complaint against him maintains a more significant pattern of conduct with the boy.  "He reported that the sexual encounters between himself and Father Bill occurred at least 100 times over the course of 4-5 years,"  the complaint states. 


Fort Atkinson Police Chief Adrian Bump says the six charges represent the encounters supported by sufficient evidence to allege a crime.


The complaint states the charged, sexual assault took place in 2006, primarily on the property of St. Joseph's Catholic Church.  The complaint says the now 25-year old victim attended the church school and was an altar boy.  It states the sexual assaults began after he confided in the priest he was gay.  The complaint says sexual encounters took place following Catholic masses, funerals, and even during an eighth grade cross country race.

"This is a delayed report of almost thirteen years,"  Bump says.  "Based on our own interaction  and working closely with our victim, it was identified that a concern that there may be other kids out there who were assaulted,"  Bump says.

Bump says he is unaware of any additional victims at this time.  But he invites anyone who was victimized or has information to contact the Fort Atkinson Police Department.

A judge gave Nolan a signature bond, with conditions he not be at St. Joseph's, nor have contact with minors.

When Nolan left the Jefferson County jail, a 27 News reporter asked him what he would tell parishioners who have supported him over the years.


"I love them," Nolan said.

Nolan refused to answer a question on whether his accuser was telling the truth.
 

Nolan lives near Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Madison, as a retired priest-in-residence.  Bump says his responsibilities included filling-in at various Catholic churches for Masses, and other liturgical needs.

A statement from Madison Catholic Diocese spokesperson Brent King includes notification in the change of Nolan's status:

Upon learning of his arrest and pending charges a diocesan representative contacted the Fort Atkinson police assuring them of our full cooperation. Simultaneously, and although Fr. Nolan has been retired since 2007 and does not hold any ecclesiastical office or function, Bishop Morlino placed him on what is commonly called “administrative leave,” as required by the Essential Norms in force in the dioceses of the USA. This includes a total exclusion from any exercise of priestly ministry while the matter is pending. The diocese also began its own canonical process of investigating these allegations, and the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board was engaged.
 

Bump says his agency had received no previous complaints against Nolan, but says about a decade ago, Janesville Police officials investigated suspicious activity by Nolan involving another adult, but no arrest was made.

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JEFFERSON (WKOW) -- A 64-year-old priest was arrested Tuesday by Fort Atkinson police and accused of multiple charges of sexual assault of a child.

The Rev. William A. Nolan, 64, is expected to appear in Jefferson County court Thursday where he could face charges of sexual assault of a child under 12 and repeated sexual assault of a child.

Investigators say the assaults took place at the priest’s office at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson and at the rectory, according to a probable cause statement.

The alleged victim, who went to police April 18, told investigators the assaults by Nolan took place over a five-year span from the ages of 12 to 17, beginning in February of 2006.

Nolan currently is a retired priest-in-residence at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison. He served as priest at St. Joseph’s from 2002 to 2007, according to the Daily Jefferson County Union.

The paper reported the dates were not available, but it is known that Nolan also was assigned to St. John Vianney in Janesville under the Rev. Gerald Vosen.

Nolan was placed on administrative leave by Bishop Morlino today, according to a statement from the diocese.

"This includes a total exclusion from any exercise of priestly ministry while the matter is pending. The diocese also began its own canonical process of investigating these allegations, and the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board was engaged," according to the statement.

Nolan retired from full-time ministry in the diocese in 2007, at his request. His last assignment was as pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Fort Atkinson, from 2002-2007, according to the district. 

Previously Nolan had served at parishes in Cambridge, Janesville, Watertown, and Madison. Until the current allegations, the diocese had received no allegations of misconduct connected to any of his assignments.

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