Fall River Resources – October 1–12,
By K.C. Myers
FALMOUTH - When he was released from prison in June 2000, Paul R. Nolin
moved to Mashpee and registered as a sex offender with the Mashpee Police
That is because of a state law saying a sex offender must be classified as either Level 1, the least severe, Level 2 or Level 3, the most dangerous classification. The classification determines how much information police can release about the offenders.
But because of a backlog in the classification system, Nolin has not received his.
And there are many more offenders like him in the state.
Since the state's Sex Offender Registry was established in 1996, only 4,000 of 18,000 sex offenders have been classified, according to Charles McDonald, spokesman for the Sex Offender Registry Board. There are literally thousands of sex offenders in Massachusetts whose records remain private.
When Wessner left a party with Nolin in the early hours of Sept. 20, he had no idea he was in the company of a convicted child rapist.
"We knew from the beginning it would take years to get this job done," McDonald said.
Yesterday, state and Falmouth police continued to search for Wessner's body in several places, including Woods Hole and the Quissett area. Nothing was found.
Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe would not reveal what specific areas were searched yesterday by approximately 70 officers, dogs and helicopters.
He also would not say whether the results of DNA tests on blood found in Wessner's Jeep had been returned.
The state's Sex Offender Registry system was designed to warn neighbors and police about past offenders living in their area.
There are 15 registered sex offenders living in Falmouth, according to police.
But Nolin is not on the list. Even if he was on the list, police could not have told his neighbors about his past because he may not have been classified by the Sex Offender Registry Board yet.
In order to classify a sex offender, the seven-member Sex Offender Registry Board must hold interviews and hearings.
No one except police can know about a Level 1 offender, McDonald said. The name and address of a Level 2 offender is public, he said. And a Level 3 offender's presence is well-publicized, with that person's name, photograph, address and other information being mailed to local schools.
A list of Falmouth's registered sex offenders is available at the police station on Main Street. There are 13 Level 2 and two Level 3 registered offenders who either live in Falmouth or have committed a sex crime there.
However, if the perpetrator isn't yet classified, information about his whereabouts, appearance and past offense cannot be made public, McDonald said.
The Mashpee police are barred by the Sex Offender Registry law from confirming Nolin's status, Mashpee Lt. Jon Read said.
But Donald Turlick, a retired priest and friend of Nolin's, said yesterday that Nolin had not been classified yet. The two met at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk where Nolin was incarcerated and Turlick occasionally celebrated Mass.
Turlick, who rented space in his home to Nolin after his release from prison, said Nolin registered at the Mashpee Police Department, as state law requires.
Under the law, convicted sex offenders must register annually with their local police department and notify police if they change addresses.
Nolin moved to Falmouth in October 2002, Turlick said. He never registered with Falmouth police, but planned to register as soon as he received the proper forms, Turlick said.
"To my knowledge he was not making any effort to avoid registering," Turlick said.
Nolin, 39, was arrested Thursday and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Wessner, whose blood-stained Jeep was found in Brockton several days after he disappeared. He pleaded innocent during his arraignment in Falmouth District Court on Thursday and was ordered held without bail.
Wessner attended a party at Nolin's house sometime after midnight Sept. 20. He never showed up for work at the Falmouth Country Club later that day. When he failed to come home by Monday, his mother contacted police.
Witnesses told police Wessner and Nolin left the party together.
According to Turlick, Nolin invited a few people to his house for a party after his shift at Cumberland Farms.
Nolin has worked as a plumber's apprentice since his release from prison and recently took a second job at the convenience store, Turlick said.
Nolin didn't know Wessner, Turlick said. Wessner apparently heard about the party from a friend and went to Nolin's house at 17 Nye Road in Falmouth about 1:30 a.m.
According to Turlick, who spoke to Nolin after he was first questioned by police, the party lasted all night. At around 8 a.m., Nolin invited everyone to go for coffee at Pie In The Sky, a Woods Hole bakery. Then, he suggested they all go to a scenic spot overlooking the harbor in Woods Hole.
Turlick said only Wessner took him up on his offer. He said they drove to Pie In The Sky in separate cars. The went to look at the harbor view from a nearby church. After looking at the view, they went their separate ways, in separate cars.
Witness gave investigators a different version of the timeline. A source close to the investigation said that Nolin left the party with Wessner at about 3 a.m. and returned to his own home at 7 or 7:30 a.m. with scratches on his legs.
The manager at Pie In The Sky said none of her employees remembered seeing the pair, though they would not necessarily know who they were.
Over the last week, police have searched through piles of trash in Falmouth, apparently searching for Wessner's body. They have found nothing.
Yesterday, police searched several areas including some woods a the end of Bell Tower Lane. Ten officers used machetes to chop through dense brush and trees surrounding the Woods Hole Park ball field and playground.
Officers on the scene commented that the brush was so thick, it would be difficult to drag a body into it.
After hours of crisscrossing through the foliage, the team left empty-handed.
"I have full confidence that as more information comes out, Paul will be exonerated," said Turlick, who described Nolin as well-liked and "trusted by many people in Mashpee and Falmouth."
Turlick said he hopes the arrest isn't based on Nolin's previous record.
Nolin's adult record dates back to 1982 when he was charged in Lowell with three counts of rape of a child and one count of kidnapping.
He pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced to 12 to 20 years in prison. He spent several years in the Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous at Bridgewater State Hospital before he was transferred to the state prison in Norfolk.
Nolin served 18 years. Before he left prison, he asked Turlick to be his mentor and help him adjust to his new life, Turlick said.
Turlick not only rented a basement apartment in his home at 41 Tracy Lane in Mashpee to Nolin but eventually helped him get a job, a car and move to a house in Falmouth.
"He was doing really well," Turlick said. "All this publicity has ruined all the rehabilitation we have done with him."
Amanda Lehmert and Karen Jeffrey and David Kibbe contributed to this report
Young golfer's body found
By Dave Wedge
Falmouth - After two tense weeks of searching, an off-duty cop fishing in Woods Hole early yesterday spotted the remains of a missing Falmouth golfer who police say was murdered during an early-morning encounter with a child rapist.
"It's another body blow," Philip Tracy Jr., a friend of Jonathan Wessner's reeling family, said of the gruesome discovery. "There's a hole in their life now."
[Photo Captions - Grisley Discobvery: Police comb the shoreline in Woods Hole where an off-duty cop found the body of Jonathan Wessner. Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel. Sad End: Jonathan Wessner, an aspiring golf pro who had been missing since Sept. 20, was found dead yesterday. Nolin.]
While friends, relatives and state and local police have spent the past two weeks searching for the slain 20-year-old, it was the keen eye of off-duty Falmouth Sgt. Chris Hamilton that confirmed the teen's fate. Hamilton was in a boat fishing in Woods Hole near the U.S. Coast Guard station when he saw "an inordinate amount of shore birds clustering on the rocks," Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said.
Hamilton called the police station and cops found Wessner crammed into a rocky crevice and covered with boulders on the edge of the ocean.
"There was certainly an attempt to conceal it with rocks," O'Keefe said.
Identified through dental records, Wessner's body was found on the property of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Authorities would not say how he was killed. An autopsy was slated for today.
Police say Wessner was slain by 39-year-old Paul Nolin Jr., a local plumbing apprentice who was released from prison in 2000 after serving 18 years for raping a 10-year-old boy in Lowell. Friends say Wessner had dropped off his girlfriend in the early morning hours of Sept. 20 and then went to meet a friend at a late-night party at Nolin's apartment.
According to Donald Turlick, a prison chaplain who counseled Nolin at MCI-Norfolk, Nolin and Wessner left the party together and went to have coffee at the Woods Hole bakery, Pie in the Sky. Cops say Wessner's Jeep was slapped with two parking tickets as it sat parked in front of the bakery after he was reported missing. The blood-splattered Jeep was later recovered in a Brockton parking lot.
Turlick, who spoke to Nolin after he was arrested for the murder, said Nolin and Wessner left the bakery and went to an area of the harbor near where the body was found to watch the sunrise. Witnesses have told investigators that Nolin returned home that morning with scratches on his legs and a cut on his hand.
Turlick said yesterday that he is surprised by the charges.
"I thought he was doing O.K.," said Turlick, who rented Nolin the apartment where the ill-fated party was held.
Tracy said Wessner's mother, Julie Donahue, her other two children and Wessner's dad, who lives in Florida, have been repeatedly crushed by news of the aspiring golf pro's demise. First he went missing, then police found his Jeep and then Nolin was arrested. The final blow was struck with yesterday's grim find.
"When something like this happens, it usually happens all at once and a family is devastated, but in this case, there's been four events that have devastated them," Tracy said.
He called Wessner an "excellent athlete" who was moving to Florida to join a college training program for PGA Tour hopefuls.
"We want to make sure that he is remembered for the wonderful kid that he was," he said.
The grieving family was "extremely thankful" to searchers, police and volunteers and is preparing to face a heart-wrenching criminal trial, Tracy said.
"It's not an easy road for anybody," he said. "We're confident this will turn out to be a conviction and justice will be done for the family."
Franci Richardson and Erika Gully-Santiago contributed to this report.
Cape slay suspect had eluded sexually dangerous tag in '83
by David Weber
Twenty years before Paul R. Nolin was charged with murdering a 20-year-old aspiring professional golfer, prosecutors asked a judge to label him a sexually dangerous person when he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old child.
But Middlesex Superior Court officials said yesterday the law precluded them from releasing psychiatric reports on Nolin that were filed in connection with McEvoy's request in 1983.
Nolin, 39, was released from prison in 2000 and was required to register as a sex offender with the police in Falmouth, where he had been living and working as an apprentice plumber.
But Nolin never registered, and Jonathan Wessner, 20, of Falmouth, apparently did not know about Nolin's background when he went to a late-night party at Nolin's apartment Sept. 20.
Authorities charged Nolin with Wessner's murder after finding Wessner's blood-stained Jeep in Brockton and allegedly were able to link the vehicle to Nolin. But police did not find Wessner's body until Saturday.
Off-duty Falmouth police Sgt. Chris Hamilton was fishing off Woods Hole when he noticed a flock of birds circling at the ocean's edge.
Wessner's body was caught in a crevice in the rocks.
Cape priest suspended amid police inquiry
By Amanda Lehmert
FALMOUTH - A Woods Hole priest has been removed from his duties because of his connection to the investigation of a local man's murder.
The Rev. Bernard Kelly, 70, of St. Joseph's parish was placed on leave Monday pending the outcome of the inquiry into Jonathan Wessner's death, Diocese of Fall River spokesman John Kearns said.
Wessner's remains were found partially covered by rocks on a beach in Woods Hole about midnight Friday. Paul R. Nolin, 39, of Falmouth, was charged with murder and kidnapping in Wessner's death. He pleaded innocent at his arraignment in Falmouth District Court Thursday and was ordered held without bail.
A source close to the investigation said Nolin and Kelly had a sexual relationship.
Kelly could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, denied the claim.
He said Nolin and Kelly were "good friends." Nolin was a parishioner at St. Joseph and worked around the church as a handyman, Nolan said.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe approached Bishop George Coleman last week, informing him that authorities wanted to talk to Kelly as part of the murder investigation, according to a prepared statement issued by the diocese.
Coleman urged Kelly to cooperate with police, the statement said.
At a meeting with the bishop Monday, Kelly was relieved of his duties "until the investigation into the death of Mr. Wessner is completed or at least any questions that would involve Father Kelly are answered," Kearns said yesterday.
O'Keefe and local detectives would not comment on why they wanted to talk to Kelly.
O'Keefe said last week police were looking into the possibility that some people may have "unwittingly" helped the murder suspect, but he later said there didn't seem to be anything to implicate another person.
Kelly was ordained a priest in 1961, Kearns said.
Kelly has been a pastor on the Cape and islands for more than two decades, starting at St. Augustine on Martha's Vineyard in 1981. He moved to Our Lady of Lourdes in Wellfleet in 1987 and then to St. Joseph's in 1997.
Kearns said Kelly has no history of being disciplined.
This is the second priest Coleman has removed from duty since becoming the Diocese of Fall River bishop in July. A Seekonk priest was placed on leave in August for alleged misconduct with two minors.
The Rev. Joseph Mauritzen, a chaplain at Falmouth Hospital, will cover Kelly's duties as parish administrator while he is on leave.
Local and state police continue to investigate Wessner's death.
The medical examiner in Boston has yet to identify the exact cause of death, but O'Keefe said he expects more information by the end of the week.
O'Keefe would not release results of DNA tests from blood samples gathered from Wessner's car, which was found in a Brockton parking lot Sept. 24.
Wessner was reported missing by his family following a party in the early morning hours of Sept. 20. He was last seen leaving the party with Nolin.
Cape priest tied to slaying probe
By Associated Press
FALMOUTH - A Woods Hole priest with ties to alleged killer and convicted sex offender Paul R. Nolin Jr. has been placed on leave from his duties, pending the outcome of the investigation into the slaying of a 20-year-old Falmouth man, a spokesman for the Diocese of Fall River said.
The Rev. Bernard Kelly, 70, of St. Joseph's parish in the Woods Hole section of Falmouth, was placed on leave Monday pending the outcome of an investigation into Jonathan Wessner's death, spokesman John Kearns said.
Wessner's body was found last week on a rocky beach in Woods Hole. Nolin, 39, has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murder.
Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, told the Cape Cod Times that Nolin and Kelly were ''good friends,'' and that Nolin was a parishioner at St. Joseph's and worked for the church as a handyman.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe informed Bishop George Coleman last week that authorities wanted to talk to Kelly as part of the murder investigation, according to a statement from the diocese.
At a meeting with the bishop Monday, Kelly was relieved of his duties ''until the investigation into the death of Mr. Wessner is completed or at least any questions that would involve Father Kelly are answered,'' Kearns told the Cape Cod Times.
Wessner was last was seen leaving a Falmouth party with Nolin on the morning of Sept. 20. The identification of the body, discovered early Saturday, was confirmed by Julie Donahue, Wessner's mother.
Donahue reported her son missing on Sept. 22. Two days later, his blood-spattered Jeep was found in a Brockton supermarket parking lot.
A pretrial hearing for Nolin is scheduled Nov. 3.
This story ran on page B6 of the Boston Globe on 10/8/2003.
Priest aided suspect's release
By Amanda Lehmert
In the early 1990s, convicted child rapist Paul R. Nolin was one of the Rev. Donald Turlick's patients at the state's treatment center for the sexually dangerous.
[Photo Caption: Paul R. Nolin]
And despite Nolin's repetitive and compulsive sexual offenses against children and his diagnosis as sexually dangerous, Turlick, a clinical psychologist, recommended Nolin for a furlough program that would have taken him outside the treatment center's gates.
Paula Erickson, who supervised Nolin's treatment at the time, said yesterday that she denied the request because she considered Nolin still too dangerous.
Nolin was arrested last week for the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner of Falmouth. He has pleaded innocent to the charges.
Wessner didn't have to die, Erickson said yesterday. If the system had kept Nolin in the program, Wessner would probably still be alive, she said.
Still, in 1995, Turlick helped persuade a Superior Court judge to release Nolin from the treatment center for the sexually dangerous and transfer him to a state prison, said Erickson, who was never called to testify at the hearing.
Had she been called, she said she would have argued against his release.
"He wasn't doing well at the treatment center," she said.
At the time Turlick testified before the judge, he was working at the county hospital in Pocasset. He had been laid off from his job at Bridgewater in 1992.
Suffolk District Court officials yesterday would not release the testimony from Nolin's 1995 hearing, but other sources corroborated Turlick's involvement.
Once in prison, Nolin had a chance at a parole, which was not a possibility when he was committed to the treatment center in the Bridgewater Correctional Complex.
His parole was granted in July 2000.
Nolin's known record dates to 1982, when he pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping charges and was sentences to 12 to 20 years in prison.
Nolin, then 18, met a 10-year-old boy at a Lowell playground and lured him into nearby woods, according to court documents. There he took off the boy's clothes, tied his hands behind his back with a belt, and molested and raped him.
In 1985, Nolin was committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater for being "sexually dangerous," where he could have potentially served a life sentence had that "dangerous" label not been removed ten years later with help from Turlick.
In an interview with the Times last week, Turlick said he met Nolin at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Norfolk.
But according to Erickson and a 1991 annual review of Nolin's sexually dangerous status, Turlick was one of Nolin's therapists.
Repeated attempts to reach Turlick at home yesterday were unsuccessful.
A 1991 review of Nolin's treatment by center staffers said Nolin was still "properly committed as a sexually dangerous person, and that he had been involved with repetitive and compulsive sexual offenses against children."
The review also says that Nolin was still working through the "psychological and characterological issues" which contributed to him committing his offenses.
While Nolin was making some progress in his treatment, the report suggested he had not reached a point at which he could be released.
Nolin's problems were blamed on abuse and neglect by his parents' according to the report.
Offenders often recreate the crime done to them on other victims, especially ones who are about the same age they were when they were abused or who look like them, Erickson said.
"They just have it inside them and unconsciously they project it onto someone else."
When Erickson left her job at the Bridgewater center in 1992, Nolin "had been there six years ... there is no reason to believe he was better by 1995."
While Nolin was in Bridgewater, he had one-on-one sessions with Turlick, including "satiation therapy" to help him control his rape fantasies, according to the review.
At the time, Erickson said, there were also certain improprieties being looked into involving the pair, including the possibility Turlick may have given Nolin contraband gifts.
Turlick told the Times last week that he agreed to be Nolin's mentor when he left Norfolk prison three years ago.
He said he brought Nolin to his home at 41 Tracy Lane, Mashpee, and rented him his basement apartment. Turlick also helped Nolin find a job with a local plumber and then to rent a house at 17 Nye Road in Falmouth about a year ago.
In Falmouth, police were not made aware of Nolin's history, although Turlick said Nolin did contact Mashpee police when he moved to town.
Sex offenders must be classified by the state Sex Offender Registry Board before police can identify them to the local community. Turlick said Nolin was not yet classified.
For that reason, state law prohibited police from notifying anyone in the community about Nolin's presence and his history of sexual offenses.
Suspension stuns parish, neighbors
By Sean Gonsalves
Woods Hole - A sense of shock reverberated through this small village yesterday, triggered by news that the Rev. Bernard Kelly had conducted a sexual relationship with the man accused of killing Jonathan Wessner.
Paul Nolin, 39, a convicted sex offender from Falmouth, charged last week with Wessner's murder, worked as a handyman at the church.
Until Monday, Kelly was pastor of St. Joseph's, a small wooden church on Millfield Street. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the murder investigation.
A neighbor of St. Joseph's parish said yesterday that she was shocked to hear of Nolin's connection to the church, just doors away from where she and her two small children live.
"It makes you feel different about people. I mean, he (Nolin) wasn't even listed on the sex offender registry (in Falmouth)," the woman said.
"I have no real issues with Nolin and Kelly if they had a relationship. They're adults. But with Nolin's record, I just really hope this will convince (Gov. Mitt) Romney to put some teeth in the sex-offender registry law," she said.
Wessner's remains were found partially covered by rocks on a beach in Woods Hole about midnight Friday. He was last seen alive leaving a party with Nolin Sept. 20, according to police.
A source close to the investigation told the Times Tuesday that Nolin and Kelly had a sexual relationship. Nolin came to the Cape in 2000 after serving 18 years of a 20-year sentence for the rape and kidnapping of a 10-year-old Lowell boy.
Kelly could not be reached for comment. Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, denied that Kelly and Nolin had a sexual relationship, saying the two were only "good friends." Nolan said his client was a parishioner of St. Joseph's and did some work there.
Falmouth Hospital chaplain, the Rev. Joseph Mauritzen was at the church rectory yesterday, having been assigned as interim pastor.
Mauritzen declined to comment about Kelly or Nolin, saying only that he had a lot of work to do and that he was expecting Fall River Diocese Bishop George Coleman to visit the church today.
Fall River Diocese spokesman John Kearns said he wasn't sure when or if Coleman would visit the Woods Hole church, but that the bishop is deeply concerned.
Kearns did confirm that investigators contacted the bishop about Kelly's relationship to Nolin.
"This is very troubling for the bishop and the church. There are some questions that have surfaced that need to be resolved. The bishop is cooperating with the authorities and he has asked Father Kelly to do the same," Kearns said.
The woman who lives near the church said she heard rumors about Kelly when he first came to the parish but didn't give such gossip much credence until news about the investigation began to unfold.
"I didn't know him but I can tell you he (Kelly) wasn't as much a part of the community as the pastor that was there before him," she said.
Others in the neighborhood refused to talk about the case, waving off reporters questions.
When Nolin moved to the Cape he moved in to a house owned by retired priest Donald Turlick, who is also a clinical psychologist. Nolin had served about 12 years of his sentence at Bridgewater State Hospital treatment center for the sexually dangerous, and was one of Turlick's patients.
Turlick told the Times last week that he was Nolin's mentor and that he helped Nolin get a job, a truck and eventually to rent a house in Falmouth.
Kearns said that the diocese does not have any diocese-level programs aimed at helping convicted criminals who are released from confinement other than St. Claire's House in Hyannis. That program helps women just released from jail make the transition back to general society.
Though the diocese does provide chaplains for jails within the diocese, any other outreach programs geared toward the prison population are individual parish initiatives.
Kearns said his office has found nothing so far that would indicate any previous problems with Kelly, 70, who was ordained in 1961 and has served as a parish priest on the Cape and islands since then. His first assignment was with St. Francis Xavier in Hyannis before becoming pastor of St. Augustine's on Martha's Vineyard in 1981.
He moved to Our Lady of Lourdes in Wellfleet in 1987 and in 1997 he became pastor of St. Joseph's in Woods Hole.
Father Richard Roy, pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Orleans, said yesterday that he didn't know Kelly very well, partly because Kelly "was kind of a private man who didn't mix much with other priests."
Defendant denies killing Cape man, defense lawyer says
By John Ellement and Anne Barnard firstname.lastname@example.org
The night Jonathan Wessner disappeared, Paul R. Nolin Jr. went with the 20-year-old Falmouth man to watch the sun rise near the bell tower of the Woods Hole Catholic church where Nolin was a handyman and a friend of the pastor, Nolin's lawyer said yesterday.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, Nolin, a 39-year-old convicted child rapist, is charged with killing Wessner, whose body was found buried under rocks on a nearby shore. And the pastor, the Rev. Bernard R. Kelly, 70, has been placed on leave by the Fall River diocese after police sought to question him in the killing.
''Due to the seriousness of the role of Father Kelly in this investigation, he is on leave from St. Joseph's Parish,'' the diocese said yesterday in a statement.
Fall River Bishop George W. Coleman learned ''a few days ago'' that the investigation by District Attorney Michael O'Keefe ''included an inquiry into what [Kelly] knows of the matter,'' the statement said. ''Bishop Coleman has offered his cooperation in the investigation and has urged Father Kelly to do the same.''
Nolin's attorney, Robert W. Nolan, contended that law enforcement officials were using the priest sexual abuse scandal to pressure the diocese into forcing Kelly to cooperate in their case against Nolin.
''We all know how gun-shy the Catholic Church is now,'' the attorney said.
Nolan said there is ''no nexus'' between the killing and Kelly's role as a parish priest.
Prosecutors, at Nolin's arraignment in Falmouth District Court last week, sought the impoundment of the search warrant executed as part of the investigation into Wessner's slaying, contending that disclosure would jeopardize the investigation.
Nolan, the attorney, said Wessner attended a party Nolin held at his home on Nye Road in Falmouth.
He said his client was with Wessner until 8:30 a.m. the morning of Sept. 20, watching the sun rise near the St. Joseph's bell tower. ''That's the last time he [Nolin] saw him [Wessner],'' Nolan said.
Wessner's mother, Julie Donahue, reported him missing Sept. 22. His bloodstained Jeep was found Sept. 24 in a Brockton supermarket parking lot.
In 1983, Nolin was convicted of raping a child. From 1985 to 1995 he was at what was then called the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, a state facility. He was then transferred to Norfolk state prison and released in June 2000.
After he was released, he rented an apartment in Mashpee in the home of another priest, Donald Turlick, a licensed psychologist who counseled him during his treatment at the Bridgewater center.
Nolan, the defense attorney, described Turlick, Kelly, and Nolin as social acquaintances. ''They were both friends of Paul Nolin's,'' he said of Kelly and Turlick.
Turlick did not return a phone call from the Globe yesterday. Kelly is no longer at the rectory, because of the suspension, and the diocese would not disclose his new address.
Philip A. Tracy Jr., a Boston attorney for the victim's family, said: ''The family is just letting the DA's office conduct as thorough an investigation as necessary and are confident they will look under every rock to find out the complete story. The family just wants to grieve in the normal way, to do the wake and the funeral, and send this young man up to heaven.''
Priests tied to Falmouth murder suspect
By Dave Wedge
Cops probing the slaying of an aspiring Falmouth golf pro are eyeing
the relationship between a sexual predator accused of the killing and
two priests, one of whom rented an apartment to the alleged murderer and
once counseled a rapist who later killed two women.
Turlick formerly worked as a therapist at the Bridgewater Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous, where he counseled double rapist Michael Kelley. Kelley, 46, was released from the center in 1991 - on the recommendation of therapists - and killed two Plymouth women the following year. Turlick also counseled Nolin in prison, where Nolin was serving an 18-year term for raping a 10-year-old Lowell boy.
Bridgeport diocese spokesman Dr. Joseph McAleer said church officials have received no complaints about Turlick and taken no action against him.
``He is a priest in good standing,'' McAleer said.
Investigators probing Wessner's killing are also questioning whether Nolin had a sexual relationship with the Rev. Bernard Kelly, a 70-year-old priest who gave Nolin a job at St. Joseph's Church, sources said. Nolin, a handyman, had a key to the Falmouth church, which was searched while authorities were looking for Wessner's body, friends said.
Kelly, a priest since 1961, has been suspended by the Fall River diocese because of the probe.
``Some questions have surfaced regarding what Father Kelly knows of the murder. Until the questions are resolved, Father Kelly is on leave,'' said diocese spokesman John Kearns.
Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, denied there was a sexual relationship between his client and Kelly, saying the pair were friends. Nolan accused District Attorney Michael O'Keefe of pressuring Kelly to answer questions about Nolin, possibly in violation of priest privilege.
``If the district attorney was instrumental in having Father Kelly divulge information Mr. Nolin gave him in spiritual confidence, it's a violation of the law,'' Nolan said.
Prosecutors say Nolin, 39, and Wessner met at a late-night party at the apartment Nolin rented from Turlick and then went to Woods Hole to watch the sunrise.
Wessner was missing until his body was found stuffed in a rock crevice on a Woods Hole beach last weekend. Authorities have not said how he was killed. His funeral is Saturday.
Two Priests Questioned in Murder Case
FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Investigators in the killing of a Falmouth man are examining the relationships two priests had with the convicted sex offender accused in the murder, according to published reports.
Paul Nolin, 39, a convicted child rapist, is charged in the Sept. 20 slaying of Jonathan Wessner, 20, an aspiring golf pro from Falmouth.
Earlier this week, the Fall River Diocese suspended the Rev. Bernard Kelly, a priest who gave Nolin a job as a handyman at St. Joseph's Church.
John Kearns, a spokesman for the diocese, said Kelly was suspended after the district attorney's office sought to question him.
In a statement, the diocese said the investigation by District Attorney Michael O'Keefe includes "an inquiry into what (Kelly) knows of the matter."
The Cape Cod Times reported last week that another priest, the Rev. Donald Turlick, of the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese, was also being questioned. Turlick, a clinical psychologist, treated Nolin at the state's treatment center for the sexually dangerous in Bridgewater and later rented an apartment in his home in Mashpee to Nolin.
Nolin's record dates back to 1982, when he pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping charges and was sentenced to 12 to 20 years in prison. Nolin, then 18, lured a 10-year-old Lowell boy into the woods, where he molested and raped him, according to court documents.
In 1985, Nolin was committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater for being "sexually dangerous," where he could have potentially served a life sentence.
The Cape Cod Times reported Thursday that Turlick helped persuade a judge to release Nolin from the treatment center to a state prison in 1995. Once in prison, Nolin had a chance at parole, which was not possible when he was committed to the treatment center. His parole was granted in July 2000.
Turlick told the newspaper that he agreed to be Nolin's mentor when he left prison. He said he brought Nolin to his home in Mashpee and rented him his basement apartment. Turlick also helped Nolin find a job with a local plumber and then to rent a house in Falmouth about a year ago.
Turlick has been on leave from the Bridgeport diocese since the late 1970s.
Bridgeport Diocese spokesman Dr. Joseph McAleer said church officials have received no complaints about Turlick and taken no action against him. "He is a priest in good standing," McAleer told the Boston Herald.
Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, said prosecutors have pressured Kelly to answer questions about Nolin, possibly in violation of priest privilege.
"If the district attorney was instrumental in having Father Kelly divulge information Mr. Nolin gave him in spiritual confidence, it's a violation of the law," Nolan told the Herald.
Nolan said Turlick and Kelly were both friends of Nolin.
Neither Turlick nor Kelly could be reached for comment on Thursday. Turlick has a nonpublished telephone number. Kelly is no longer living at St. Joseph's rectory and his new address could not be determined.
Prosecutors say Nolin and Wessner met at a party at Nolin's apartment and then went to Woods Hole in watch the sunrise.
Wessner's body was found in a rock crevice on a Woods Hole beach last weekend.
O'Keefe declined to comment on the investigation or Kelly's role.
'No truth was shared'
By Amanda Lehmert and Sean Gonsalves
WOODS HOLE - Reeling from allegations that their pastor befriended a convicted rapist later suspected of kidnapping and killing a Falmouth man, St. Joseph's parishioners gathered last night at the small church on Millfield Street looking for reassurance and answers from the Rev. George Coleman, bishop of the Fall River Diocese
But at least several of the parishioners came away from the meeting angry that they didn't get answers about the Rev. Bernard Kelly's alleged connection to Paul Nolin, who has been charged in the murder of Jonathan Wessner.
"Nothing happened there. Nothing was explained. No truth was shared. Why bring us all out here?," said Karen Perry moments after leaving the meeting, which lasted about 90 minutes.
Perry said she came looking for "moral answers" but felt unsatisfied with Coleman's exhortation to pray.
Although the meeting was not open to those outside of the 180-family congregation, Coleman spoke briefly with Times reporters as he left.
"St. Joseph's parish is a family. It's good for the members to come together to put themselves in the presence of God," Coleman said. "In this, the church family can withstand the challenges that we face."
Coleman, who was appointed bishop of the Fall River Diocese earlier this summer, placed Kelly on indefinite administrative leave this week after police notified the diocese they had questioned Kelly in the Wessner case.
A source close to the investigation said the longtime Cape priest had conducted a sexual relationship with Nolin, who was released from prison in 2000.
"This evening I wanted to be with the parish family. We recognized the Lord's presence in our midst. We expressed sorrow and hope. And we asked God to give us strength," he said, declining to comment on the specifics of the case or about Kelly's connection to the murder investigation.
Several parishioners who attended last night's meeting said they had never seen Nolin at the church, though according to Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, his client was a parishioner at the church and did work there as a handyman.
Also according to church members, Coleman said Kelly has sought private legal counsel - the tab for which is not being paid by the diocese.
Others said that Kelly was a well-liked but very private man. But some parishioners had hoped to question Kelly directly about his relationship with Nolin.
"It hurts badly. You run the whole gamut of disbelief, shock and amazement," said Glenn Kelly, a confirmation catechism teacher.
"Father Kelly has baptized my goddaughter. He has married so many people. He has buried our friends. It's just literally shocking," he added.
Even if the sexual allegations prove to be false, Glenn Kelly said that hiring Nolin to work at the church was "an exercise in poor judgment."
"Don't give us the runaround. This is a close-knit parish that has just been torn apart," another parishioner said, referring to what she considered to be Coleman's evasive answers.
But not all parishioners were angry with Kelly or disappointed with Coleman's remarks.
"My experience with him was he was a wonderful person. It was a pleasure to come to his church," said Daniel O'Connor, who has been a member of the church for the past five years.
Apparently, regular church attendance was the price of admission. Two irregular church-goers who had come to the meeting were turned away by fellow parishioners guarding the door to prevent any outsiders from attending.
Kelly is one of two Catholic priests linked to Nolin.
Sources have said that the Rev. Donald Turlick of Falmouth knew Nolin while Nolin was serving a prison sentence for kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old boy in Lowell in 1982.
Turlick, a clinical psychologist, was one of Nolin's therapists at a Bridgewater center for the sexually dangerous.
Turlick also presented testimony in support of Nolin's transfer in 1995 from the Bridgewater center to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk.
Upon Nolin's parole in 2000, Turlick agreed to be Nolin's mentor and rented a room to him in his Mashpee home. Nolin later moved to Falmouth.
Although he was required to register with the town of Mashpee as a sexual offender, he had not been formally classified under state law. That meant police could not legally inform the community of his presence.
Wessner's body was found a week ago on a Woods Hole beach. He had been last seen by his friends on Sept. 20 as he left a party in Falmouth with Nolin.
Bishop Visits Troubled Woods Hole Parish
By Anne Barnard and John Ellement
FALMOUTH - Bishop George W. Coleman of the Fall River Diocese met last night with parishioners at St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole, three days after placing pastor Bernard R. Kelly on leave after police sought to question the priest about the recent killing of a local man.
"It's shocking; it's stunning; the whole thesaurus," said Glenn Kelly, a churchgoer who attended last night's meeting. "Father Kelly has baptized my goddaughter. He's married so many people. He's buried our friends."
Coleman declined to characterize what happened in last night's session or to explain what he meant when he said earlier this week that Kelly was suspended due to the "seriousness of his role" in the murder inquiry. "We have faith that the Lord will give us the grace and the courage to meet whatever challenges there may be," he said as he left the 90-minute meeting.
Kelly had hired Paul R. Nolin Jr., who is charged in the slaying of Jonathan Wessner, as a handyman at the church, according to Nolin's lawyer. Nolin had served 18 years in prison for child rape and has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges in the death of Wessner, 20, of Falmouth. Nolin's lawyer said that his client and Father Kelly were friends, and that Nolin attended the church and worked there.
Glenn Kelly, who is no relation to the priest, said Nolin was discussed at the meeting and no one remembered seeing him at the church.
He said Coleman did not address Kelly's relationship with Nolin. But he told parishioners that Kelly has hired a lawyer, which the diocese is not paying for.
Glenn Kelly said Coleman counseled patience and reminded church members that the police investigation is not complete.
Glenn Kelly said that if the priest had a friendship with Nolin, "it angers me. I don't want to believe it. I want to hear it from Father Kelly."
"We didn't get any answers," said one parishioner who declined to be named. "This was a wonderful, happy, close-knit parish that has just been torn apart. A 20-year-old boy has lost his life. Our priest had a friendship with a man who is accused in the killing. I want to know why he had that friendship."
Other parishioners stressed that the parish would stick together and said they appreciated the bishop listening to their concerns.
Authorities have not said what they hope to learn from the priest.
Barnstable District Attorney Michael O'Keefe declined yesterday to discuss Kelly, but said that results of the autopsy on Wessner may be announced today. Wessner's body was found Saturday partly buried under rocks on a Woods Hole beach. He disappeared Sept. 20 after leaving a party at Nolin's house in Falmouth with the handyman, authorities say.
So far, the strongest link between the murder investigation and the church is geographical. Wessner and Nolin spent the early hours of Sept. 20 watching the sun rise near a bell tower across the street from the gray-shingled church, and went their separate ways at 8:30 a.m, said Nolin's lawyer, Robert W. Nolan.
Police have questioned most of the 10 guests at a recent dinner party Kelly held that Nolin attended, said Donald A. Turlick, a priest and licensed psychologist, whose friendship with Kelly dates to the seminary and who counseled Nolin at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in the early 1990s. Turlick, interviewed yesterday at his lawyer's office, said he attended the dinner party but was out of town the weekend Wessner disappeared.
Turlick met the priest at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland in the 1950s. Kelly was ordained in 1961 and has had assignments on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod since the early 1980s, service records show. He was assigned to Wellfleet in 1988 and moved to St. Joseph's in Woods Hole in 1998, records show.
Turlick described himself as a mentor to Nolin, whom he called "very, very talented."
Turlick said he believed that in the 18 years Nolin served for the 1982 rape of a 10-year-old Lowell boy, Nolin had been successfully rehabilitated. That's why Turlick testified at a 1995 hearing in Suffolk Superior Court, at which Nolin convinced a judge that he was no longer sexually dangerous and could be transferred to Norfolk state prison.
At that point, Turlick said, he had not counseled Nolin for several years and was not testifying as an official prison counselor. He said he testified that Nolin had responded to therapy at the treatment center. Turlick later visited Nolin regularly at the prison, attending holiday Masses for prisoners' families.
When Nolin was released from prison in 2000, Turlick said, he rented him an apartment in his Mashpee home. Later, he said, he helped Nolin find a job and a place to rent in Falmouth. "I try to see Christ in everyone, and help them better themselves," he said.
Barnard reported from Falmouth and Ellement from Boston.
Bishop discusses inquiry on pastor
By Anne Barnard and John Ellement
FALMOUTH -- Bishop George W. Coleman of the Fall River Diocese met last night with parishioners at St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole, two days after placing pastor Bernard R. Kelly on leave after police sought to question the priest about the recent killing of a local man.
''We have faith that the Lord will give us the grace and the courage to meet whatever challenges there may be,'' Coleman said as he left the meeting.
He declined to characterize what happened in the gathering or to explain what he meant when he said earlier this week that Kelly was suspended due to the ''seriousness of his role'' in the murder inquiry.
Kelly had hired Paul R. Nolin Jr., who is charged in the slaying, as a handyman at the church. Nolin, who had served 18 years in prison for child rape, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges in the death of Jonathan Wessner, 20, of Falmouth. Nolin's lawyer said that his client and Kelly were friends, and that Nolin attended the church and worked there.
Glenn Kelly, a churchgoer who attended last night's meeting, said Nolin was discussed and no one remembered seeing him at the church.
He said Coleman did not confirm or deny allegations related to Father Kelly and the murder investigation. But Coleman acknowleged that Father Kelly has hired a lawyer, which the Diocese of Fall River is not paying for.
Kelly, no relation, said Coleman counseled patience and reminded church members the police investigation is not complete.
Barnstable District Attorney Michael O'Keefe declined yesterday to discuss Kelly, but said that he expects to announce the results as soon as today of the autopsy on Wessner, whose body was found Saturday partly buried under rocks on a Woods Hole beach. He disappeared Sept. 20 after leaving a party at Nolin's house with the handyman, authorities say. So far, the strongest link between the murder investigation and the church is geographical. Wessner and Nolin spent the early hours of Sept. 20 watching the sun rise near the free-standing bell tower across the street from the gray-shingled church, and went their separate ways at 8:30 a.m, said Nolin's lawyer, Robert W. Nolan.
Police have questioned most of the 10 guests at a recent dinner party Kelly held, including Nolin, said Donald A. Turlick, a priest and licensed psychologist, whose friendship with Kelly dates to the seminary and who counseled Nolin at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in the early 1990s. Turlick said he attended the dinner party, but was out of town at his uncle's funeral the weekend Wessner disappeared.
Kelly and Turlick met at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland in the 1950s. Kelly was ordained in 1961 and has had assignments on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod since the early 1980s, according to service records. He was assigned to Wellfleet in 1988 and moved to St. Joseph's in Woods Hole in 1998, records show.
In the 18 years that Nolin served for the 1982 rape of a 10-year-old Lowell boy, Nolin had been rehabilitated, Turlick said. That's why he testified at a 1995 hearing in Suffolk Superior Court when he said that Nolin convinced a judge that he was no longer sexually dangerous and could be transferred to Norfolk state prison. At that point, Turlick said, he had not counseled Nolin for several years and vouched for Nolin's character rather than giving a therapist's opinion. Turlick had visited Nolin regularly at the prison, attending holiday Masses for prisoners' families. When Nolin was released from prison in 2000, Turlick said, he rented him an apartment in his Mashpee home. Later, he said, he helped Nolin find the job at Kelly's church and a place to rent in Falmouth.
Barnard reported from Falmouth and Ellement from Boston. Barnard can be reached at email@example.com.
This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 10/10/2003.
Priest set predator free
By Jessica Heslam
A sexual predator accused of slaying a Falmouth golf course worker fantasized about rape but was released from prison based on the recommendation of a priest who also counseled two other convicts who later killed.
"He was paranoid and not doing well at all," former inmate counselor Paula Erickson said of Paul Nolin. "He was having rape and violent fantasies. He was very hostile in the treatment center, and he clearly needed a lot more treatment."
Erickson said he should not have been released from the treatment center as the Rev. Donald Turlick recommended.
Nolin, who is charged with the Sept. 20 murder of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner, served 18 years in prison for viciously raping a 10-year-old Lowell boy he snatched from a playground. Court papers show Nolin lured the boy by promising to show him snakes in the woods before binding his hands behind his back with the boy's belt and raping him.
"I'm going to show you some snakes. Do you want to come in the woods with me?" Nolin asked the boy, according to the boy's 1982 grand jury testimony.
During the rape, the boy said Nolin told him, "You scream and I'll kill you." After the attack, Nolin, then 18, made the naked boy lie on his stomach and count to 100 while Nolin ran off.
Nolin was caught days later when the boy saw him while fishing with his mother on the Merrimack River. Nolin pleaded guilty to the charges.
Nolin, now a 39-year-old plumber, was sent to prison but was transferred to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, where he was counseled by Turlick.
Nolin allegedly killed Wessner after meeting him at a party Nolin hosted in an apartment in the basement of Turlick's Falmouth home.
Turlick has been questioned in the case along with the Rev. Bernard Kelly, who hired Nolin as a handyman at St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole. Investigators have searched the church and are probing whether Kelly and Nolin had a sexual relationship, sources said.
Nolin is not the first convicted rapist counseled by Turlick at Bridgewater who later was charged with murder. Turlick also counseled Michael Kelley, 41, who was released from the center in 1991 and killed two Plymouth women the next year.
Turlick also counseled Ronald Leftwich, who was released from the center in 1991 and five years later killed the Rev. Martin-Henri, whom he had been staying with at the Brothers of Bethany Monastery in Brimfield.
While in Bridgewater, Turlick used "satiation therapy" to try to treat Nolin's rape fantasies, according to a 1991 review. Satiation therapy is a behavioural technique to reduce arousal to deviant thoughts.
Nolin suffered abuse at the hands of his late parents, according to the review. He was sent back to prison in 1995 and got out of prison in 2000.
Dave Wedge contributed to this report.
Release program was 'a parade'
By Cynthia McCormack, Amanda Lehmert, and Kevin Dennehy
A former prison psychologist said the Rev. Donald Turlick couldn't have been too surprised when a sex offender whom the priest had sheltered in his Mashpee house was accused last week in the slaying of a young Falmouth man.
As a psychologist at the Massachusetts Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, Turlick was team leader in a furlough program that led to the release of more than a dozen dangerous sex offenders, at least two of whom committed murder shortly after getting out of prison, said Paula Erickson of Brockton.
The men who came through the furlough program, also known as the "release house," under Turlick's watch in 1991 were "the worst of the worst," said Erickson, a psychologist who sued the treatment center after it fired her. "It was like a parade going out the door."
The furloughed prisoners included Michael Kelley, who less than a year after his release murdered two women in Plymouth, and Ronald Leftwich, a violent rapist who was in prison for nearly killing an elderly Nantucket woman. A year after his release, Leftwich beat a Brimfield pastor to death.
Others in the work-release program and in the secured sections of the treatment center eventually were given jobs on the Cape and islands.
Turlick and Nolin
Just last week, convicted child rapist Paul Nolin was accused of kidnapping and killing Jonathan Wessner, 20, of Falmouth. Nolin, who got out of jail in 2000, had been one of Turlick's patients at the Bridgewater center.
Erickson claims that Turlick tried, unsuccessfully, to get Nolin moved from the main treatment building to the release house.
Inmates living at the white clapboard house had their own cars which they drove to jobs and to visit friends and family. Kelley, who was sent to the treatment center in 1978 after being convicted of multiple counts of rape, even got married and fathered a child while he was at Bridgewater.
Turlick, who became team leader in 1990 after arriving at the treatment center in January of 1989, left the facility in October 1991.
But four years later, he testified on behalf of Nolin when Nolin was moved from the Bridgewater center to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk. When Nolin was paroled in 2000, Turlick agreed to be his mentor and rented a room to him in his Mashpee home.
Nolin later moved to a house on Nye Road in Falmouth, from which Wessner disappeared during a party on Sept. 20. Last week his body was found underneath rocks on a Woods Hole beach, about a quarter of a mile from St. Joseph's Parish church in Woods Hole, where Nolin worked as a handyman.
"You don't do that."
"It's not OK to be that involved with your client, even if you are
not technically the individual's therapist anymore," said Erickson,
who settled her suit against the state. "That's a no-no. You don't
Documents say Nolin was abused and neglected his parents. In 1982 he was convicted of luring a 10-year-old Lowell boy away from a playground and into the woods, where he bound and raped him.
"I believe Nolin has become a pedophile and a predator," Erickson said. "He had daily rape fantasies; he was hostile. Nolin shouldn't have gotten out."
Nolin, however, told treatment center officials in 1991 that his "satiation therapy" - a kind of aversion therapy - with Turlick and another psychologist was working. He said he stopped having twice weekly fantasies about raping children or adults, although he still had non-sexual but violent fantasies.
Erickson said Turlick counseled patients in "relapse prevention," which is meant to help protect the public if and when the inmates got out of the treatment center. The release house was also meant to ease the prisoners' transition back into society, with its work and "socialization" programs.
Michael Kelley, who got a 15- to 20-year sentence for multiple counts of rape in 1978, even managed to get married in 1982 while he was at the treatment center. In 1990, four years after being allowed to participate in an "authorized absence program," he and his wife, Valerie, had a baby.
Kelley was working for the National Real Estate Sign Co. in Pembroke. But on June 3, 1991, his furlough work program was suspended after a 14-inch knife was found in the pocket of the driver's door of his car.
However, just 16 days later, a treatment center review board voted to re-institute his furlough and also said he should no longer be considered a "sexually dangerous person."
Kelley told them the knife was in his truck to cut some rope he had used to secure belongings during a recent move. "The board explored this matter in some detail and concluded that there was no evidence that the knife was in the truck for any purpose other than what he said," board members said during his annual review.
They recommended that Kelley "continue in the treatment program ... available to him in the halfway house, including his relapse prevention group and the release house groups and his individual therapy with Dr. Turlick."
Five days later a Superior Court judge ordered Kelley discharged from the treatment center. He was ultimately sent to the Southeast Correctional Center, from which he was paroled Oct. 15, 1991.
A guilty plea
But less than a year later, on June 15, 1992, Kelley was charged with the murders of Debra Lavangie and Colleen Coughlin. He killed the women at his new workplace, a silkscreener's warehouse in Plymouth. Kelley surprised his own lawyers in 1994 when he admitted guilt in the killings and said he didn't feel he could live outside a prison.
"You can't cure these guys," said Sean Summers, who had worked as a case manager with the behavioral review committee at the treatment center in Bridgewater. "If you let them out, they are going to hurt again. They shouldn't be patients. They are criminal and should be treated as such."
Summers, who was interviewed by phone in Ireland, said therapists at the treatment center wanted to give the offenders the benefit of the doubt. He said 10 years was the "magic number." Once an offender is in the facility for 10 years "then all of a sudden you get well."
"We all make mistakes in judgment," said Carol Ball, clinical director of New England Forensic Associates, which provides outpatient therapy for sex offenders. Ball, who once worked at the Bridgewater center, said many sex offenders can be treated successfully, but it's the failures that make the news.
Besides Kelley, another big case was Leftwich, who also was released from the treatment center in 1991.
Nantucket Police Chief Randolph P. Norris, who arrested Leftwich for rape in 1977, said he thought of Leftwich as one of those criminals who "should never see the light of day again."
Leftwich, whose fingerprints were found at the scene, raped, beat and stabbed a Nantucket woman in her 60s.
"It was a very heinous crime," Norris said. "He left her for dead. She feigned being dead. He broke the knife he was stabbing her with in her, after brutally raping her. He thought he killed her and he walked away."
Norris said he wasn't surprised to hear Leftwich was classified as a "sadistic rapist," a classification met by only about three in 100 rapists. He wrote a letter of protest when he heard Leftwich was up for release.
"The next thing I knew," he was out, Norris said. Leftwich was transferred from the treatment center to Cedar Junction State Prison in October 1991 after a judge ruled he was no longer dangerous.
Leftwich was released from state prison in 1995 and was arrested the next year in the stabbing death of the Rev. Martin-Henri, a controversial pastor who worked with convicts at a monastery in Brimfield.
But even before Leftwich got out of prison, he was able to roam the streets in New Bedford thanks to the Bridgewater center's furlough program. He got in trouble for picking up prostitutes in the city in the late summer of 1988, but a few months later he was back out on furlough.
Turlick came to Bridgewater in January 1989.
"These guys would take advantage of this situation and run all over Southeastern Massachusetts and Worcester and the Cape," Erickson said.
Justin Latini, spokesman for the Department of Corrections and the Bridgewater treatment center, said he can't comment on the furlough program because back then the prison was run by the state Department of Mental Health. "We took over that facility in 1995," he said.
But Lester Blumberg, chief of staff for the DMH, said he didn't have any information on the furlough program of the late 1980s through early 1990s. "We haven't run Bridgewater State Hospital in years," he said.
Latini said five of the treatment center's 568 inmates currently reside at the halfway house. He said none are in work programs but they could be in the future.
Erickson claims Turlick, as team leader at the release house, could have halted the release of men such as Kelley and Leftwich."Being team leader gave you the power to nix things or at least make a fuss," she said. "He didn't do it."
Librarian Robin Smith-Johnson contributed to this report.
Authorities: Cape victim was beaten and stabbed
By Dave Wedge
Authorities said an aspiring Falmouth golf pro was beaten and stabbed to death, as more details emerge about accused killer Paul Nolin's priest pals.
Fall River church officials, who have suspended the Rev. Bernard Kelly because he has been questioned in the murder probe, said they didn't know Nolin was employed at St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole. Diocese of Fall River spokesman John Kearns said there is no protocol on allowing convicted felons to work at a church and that the decision is made by each parish.
``Sometimes you have to reach out for someone who is having difficulty in his life. But that's the call of each pastor,'' Kearns said.
Fall River Bishop George Coleman met privately Thursday night with parishioners angry that Nolin, a handyman who savagely raped a 10-year-old Lowell boy in 1982, was working at the church.
The Herald has reported that Nolin, 39, was released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in 1995 based on the recommendation of the Rev. Donald Turlick, a therapist and priest on leave from the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese. Nolin was released from MCI-Norfolk in 2000 and moved into an apartment in Turlick's Mashpee home.
In addition to counseling Nolin behind bars, Turlick was the release team leader at the Bridgewater center in 1991 when Michael Kelley and Ronald Leftwich were released. Leftwich, a victim of priest sexual abuse, later killed the Rev. Martin-Henri at a Brimfield monastery. Kelley, a double rapist, killed two Plymouth women a year after being freed.
``He could have spoken up and had them stay in, but he didn't say a peep,'' Paula Erickson, a former therapist at the Bridgewater center, said of Turlick.
Cops say Nolin killed 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner on Sept. 20 following an early morning party at Nolin's apartment. Prosecutors yesterday said an autopsy showed Wessner died of ``blunt and sharp force injury.''
Bridgeport church officials said Turlick, 68, is still a priest in good standing. Kelly, 70, has been suspended by Fall River church officials. The two priests have been friends since meeting at a Maryland seminary in the 1950s.
Priest linked to accused murderer
By Anne Barnard and John Ellement
FALMOUTH -- Authorities believe that the Roman Catholic priest who was abruptly removed from his parish this week had a sexual relationship with Robert R. Nolin Jr., the convicted child rapist accused of murdering 20-year-old Jonathan D. Wessner on a Falmouth beach late last month, according to a source with knowledge of the homicide investigation.
The Rev. Bernard R. Kelly was pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Woods Hole until Tuesday, when Bishop George W. Coleman of the Catholic Diocese of Fall River suspended the 70-year-old Kelly "due to the seriousness" of his role in the murder investigation and Kelly's apparent refusal to cooperate with authorities.
Kelly, according to the source, has admitted to investigators that he was having a sexual relationship with the 39-year-old Nolin, who worked as a handyman at St. Joseph's and served an 18-year prison term for the 1982 rape of a child in Lowell.
Acknowledging a sexual relationship between Kelly and Nolin could pave the way for authorities to challenge any assertion by Kelly that he must keep confidential anything Nolin told him as his priest, legal observers say.
On the bishop's orders, Kelly moved out of the rectory after his suspension. Bishop Coleman told parishioners at a meeting Thursday night at St. Joseph's that Kelly has hired a lawyer.
Last night at Kelly's family house and horse farm in Cummaquid, a section of the town of Barnstable, an elderly caretaker refused to let a Globe reporter speak with Kelly.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe refused to discuss yesterday what Kelly may have told detectives.
But he did say that an autopsy by the state medical examiner's office had concluded Wessner died from "blunt and sharp force injury."
O'Keefe said investigators have not yet found the murder weapons, a heavy object used to bludgeon the slightly built Wessner and a sharp-edged tool used to stab him.
O'Keefe said Wessner was murdered on a Falmouth beach about 50 yards from where his body was found covered with rocks Oct. 4. The body was found 10 days after Wessner's blood-stained Jeep was recovered in a Brockton parking lot.
Nolin has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. Nolin's defense lawyer, Robert W. Nolan, said the relationship between Kelly and his client was platonic.
Investigators have also questioned a second priest about Nolin, the Rev. Donald A. Turlick, who counseled Nolin during the decade he spent at the Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater.
Turlick, a licensed psychologist, testified on Nolin's behalf at the Middlesex Superior Court hearing that ended Nolin's indefinite commitment to Bridgewater and cleared the way for his release from prison in 2000.
Turlick said in an interview that he rented Nolin an apartment in his Mashpee house after his release from prison and later helped him find a rental house on Nye Road in Falmouth. Nolin met Wessner on Sept. 20, when he attended a party at Nolin's house.
Turlick said neither he nor Kelly was sexually intimate with Nolin. The three men were friends, he said.
Kelly's relationship with Nolin was social, Turlick said. For example, Nolin and Kelly once attended Turlick's birthday party, Turlick said in an interview monitored by his Falmouth lawyer, Kathleen English.
"There has never been an indication to me that Father Kelly was in any way sexually active," Turlick said.
Lawyers for Turlick and Nolin scoffed at the idea of an affair between the 39-year-old handyman and the 70-year-old priest.
"Paul Nolin had a big circle of friends, young and old, men and women in Falmouth," said English, Turlick's attorney. "First, they say he's a pedophile; now they say he's with an old man. Not everybody who knows each other is having sex."
Nolin was allegedly the last person to see Wessner on Sept. 20 when the two watched the sun rise from a church bell tower across the street from Kelly's church.
Nolin's lawyer contends that investigators could run into legal barriers if they try to force Kelly to disclose what, if anything, Nolin told the priest after the murder.
"If he's in the confessional, it doesn't matter what relationship he has with him," the defense attorney said of Nolin and Kelly. "If he [Nolin] is seeking spiritual guidance, I don't think it destroys the priest-penitent privilege."
Philip A. Tracy Jr., a Boston defense lawyer speaking for Wessner's relatives, said the family did not want to address the investigation as they prepare for today's funeral Mass at St. Patrick's Church in Falmouth.
"We leave [the investigation] in the hands of the district attorney's office, the State Police, and the Falmouth police," Tracy said. "We're very happy with the thoroughness of the DA's investigation."
Friends, Kin Mourn Slain Golfer, 20, in Tearful Mass
By Dave Wedge
Slain aspiring golf pro Jonathan Wessner was the life of the party and had a bright future ahead of him, a friend recalled at the Falmouth man's heart-wrenching funeral yesterday.
"Jonathan was a shining example of what it meant to be a cool guy," Wessner's pal Patrick Bossy told hundreds of mourners in St. Patrick's Church in downtown Falmouth. "He had everything he ever wanted going for him. Jonathan was young and in charge of his own destiny."
[Photo Captions - Wessner. Heart-Wrenching: A mourner hugs Julie Donahue, center, the mother of 20-year-old murder victim Jonathan Wessner, at Wessner's funeral yesterday. At right is Wessner's sister, Jackie. Staff photo by Kuni Takahashi.]
Wessner, 20, disappeared Sept. 20 after attending a late-night party at the home of child rapist Paul Nolin.
Nolin, who served 18 years in prison for raping a 10-year-old Lowell boy in 1982, faces charges he kidnapped and fatally beat and stabbed Wessner.
As friends and relatives sobbed and held hands in the packed pews, Bossy recalled how much Wessner loved his hometown.
"Wessner's favorite time every year was summer here in Falmouth," he said. "Wherever there was a happy Wessner, there was lots of laughter and fun."
"We loved Jonathan for the awesome person he was," Bossy said.
Two priests connected to Nolin have been questioned in the case. The Rev. Bernard Kelly, who has come under fire for giving Nolin a job at St. Joseph's Church, has been suspended by the Fall River Diocese pending the outcome of the probe.
Police also have questioned the Rev. Donald Turlick, a longtime friend
of Kelly's who counseled Nolin behind bars and let him rent an apartment
in his house.
Bishop Accountability © 2003