Bishop Accountability

Fall River Resources – October 27–31, 2003

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Crime Knocks at Parish Door
Priest's Tie to Murder Suspect Troubling Quiet Cape Church

By Anne Barnard
Boston Globe
October 27, 2003

FALMOUTH - When the Rev. Bernard R. Kelly took the helm of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole in 1998, some parishioners found him too remote: They wanted him to be a neighborhood figure in this gray-shingled village, but he shared little of his life, spending much of his time tending thoroughbred horses at a family farm farther out on Cape Cod.

But Kelly, 70, had one friend few parishioners knew about, another newcomer to the area. Paul R. Nolin Jr., 39, was a friendly, "sharp-looking guy," recalled a clerk at John's Liquors in downtown Falmouth. Nolin came in often enough for bottles of Smirnoff vodka that the store kept them on ice for him.

Neither the young people Nolin partied with nor Falmouth police knew that he had served 18 years in prison for raping a 10-year-old boy in 1982. But one person who did know was the Rev. Donald A. Turlick, who had counseled Nolin in prison and was a close friend of Kelly's since their seminary days. Turlick says he helped Nolin find jobs in Falmouth and introduced him to Kelly, who invited the younger man to dinner parties, welcomed him to the church, and gave him work there as a handyman.

In the past month, parishioners have learned more about Kelly's private life in a way they probably never imagined.

Kelly and Turlick may face questioning before a grand jury that convenes tomorrow to investigate Nolin, who is accused of killing Jonathan Wessner, 20. The Fall River Diocese has suspended Kelly, who was questioned by investigators about his relationship with the ex-convict. And churchgoers who until now had felt untouched by the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis are struggling to deal with the intrusion of a scandal involving sex and murder in their small-town parish.

"How could this happen in this sweet little church, where everybody knows who's having babies and whose kids are in what school?" said Jan Kelley, 52, who has attended Mass at St. Joseph's for 12 years and teaches Catholic education there. "I was ready to say, forget it, I will never go back to Mass again. But the attitude now is you have to just be a Christian, and emphasize to your family . . . Humans make mistakes."

The parish's autumn quiet was shattered when Wessner disappeared after leaving a party Sept. 20 with Nolin, who told his lawyer he took Wessner to see the view from the church bell tower. Wessner's body was found Oct. 4, buried on a beach several blocks away. Nolin has pleaded not guilty.

Though the case does not involve child abuse, and prosecutors do not believe the priests were involved in the killing, the events have hit many of the same nerves as the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese and the Catholic church worldwide. St. Joseph's parishioners and other Falmouth residents are questioning everything from priests' accountability, to homosexuality, to the doctrine of celibacy. Many have called for an open accounting from church officials and from Kelly, who has not offered a public explanation since he was forced to leave the rectory.

"I want to hear it from him," said Glenn Kelly, a parishioner, who is not related to the priest.

The parish is also struggling to reconcile a priest's mission to reach out to the most troubled members of society with the fear the case has inspired. Even those who have vowed to wait for the investigation to reveal the truth about Kelly's actions are disturbed that he apparently helped a onetime child molester gain a foothold in the community without warning residents.

"I understand the impulse to want to help somebody get back on their feet," said Patricia Kerfoot, head of the parish council. "The disturbing part here is that the fellow had a record of a sort that you would not want to expose the children to."

Through his principal lawyer, Robert W. Nolan, Nolin has said that he was simply friends with Kelly and Turlick. But authorities believe Kelly had a sexual relationship with Nolin, according to a law enforcement source. Proving such a relationship could help prosecutors pressure Kelly to reveal what Nolin told him after Wessner's death, statements that could be protected if Nolin approached the priest for spiritual guidance, legal specialists say. But Nolan and Nolin's other lawyer, Sean Murphy, insist the conversations are confidential regardless of Nolin's "personal relationship" with Kelly.

A white-haired caretaker at Kelly's home in Cummaquid, a section of Barnstable, refused to let a reporter speak with the priest. Calling Kelly "a man I love and respect," he denounced press coverage of the case as "unconscionable." A lawyer who said he is in touch with Kelly also declined to comment.

Bishop George W. Coleman of the Fall River Diocese met with the congregation for 90 minutes Oct 9. But some parishioners called on him to reveal more. And Voice of the Faithful, a group pushing for more lay input into church administration, seized the moment to demand recognition from Coleman, who had asked diocese priests not to let the group use church facilities.

"There's no magic river that separates Fall River from Boston," said Marie Collamore of Falmouth, who is launching a Cape Cod chapter of Voice of the Faithful. "The thing in Woods Hole is opening up like a big wound."

Locals also have questions about Turlick, a priest and licensed psychologist who testified at a hearing that cleared the way for Nolin's eventual release from prison, then shepherded him into the Falmouth community. "This Father Turlick has a lot to answer for," Glenn Kelly said.

Turlick, 68, said in an interview that he believes Nolin's rehabilitation was successful, saying the ex-convict was "faithful to therapy." The priest said he helped Nolin as part of his duty to "see Christ in everyone."

"At worst, he may have been duped," said Kathleen English, Turlick's lawyer.

A soft-spoken, bearded man, Turlick said he and Kelly have been close friends since they attended St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore in the late 1950s. Turlick was ordained in the Bridgeport Diocese in 1962 and remains a priest in good standing, said diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer.

In 1970, Turlick received permission to leave the diocese to study at Boston University. He later worked at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater. One of his patients there was Paul Nolin.

Nolin was convicted at 17 of raping a 10-year-old boy in Lowell. In 1995, a judge transferred Nolin from the Bridgewater center, where people can be kept incarcerated even beyond their prison sentences, to Norfolk state prison, where he could be released after completing his sentence.

Though many in town blame Turlick for Nolin's transfer, the situation is more complicated. At the hearing, Turlick pledged to help Nolin return to society upon release, court records show. But his testimony did not appear pivotal in convincing Judge Charles M. Grabau that Nolin was no longer "sexually dangerous."

Grabau noted that Nancy Connolly, a psychologist and the treatment center's chairwoman, argued that Nolin harbored fantasies of assaulting a prison guard and should remain at Bridgewater. But the judge sided with four other psychologists - not including Turlick - who testified that Nolin's 2,200 hours of psychotherapy had worked.

After that, Turlick's role in Nolin's life became more pronounced. He visited Nolin often in prison, and after the convict's release in 2000, the priest rented him a basement apartment in his Mashpee home. Last fall, he helped Nolin find a rental house in Falmouth and several jobs.

Meanwhile, a few miles down the road in Woods Hole, St. Joseph's had the usual parish divisions over its pastor: Some liked Kelly; others didn't. He performed all the basic duties and comforted a family who lost a child abruptly. But Roland Beliveau complains that Kelly wouldn't say his mother's funeral Mass on his day off, and Parish Council leader Kerfoot said Kelly did not continue the neighborhood outreach of the previous priest.

According to English, Turlick's lawyer, before Nolin moved to Falmouth, Kelly held a birthday party for the ex-convict at his Cummaquid farm, a yellow house with white columns, black urns of begonias, and a swimming pool, surrounded by corrals for Morgan horses. After moving to Falmouth, Nolin attended St. Joseph's and occasional dinner parties with the two priests, Turlick said.

During the same period, Nolin failed to notify Falmouth police of his move, as sex offenders are required to do under state law. The Department of Correction did not notify police, either, because a backlog in the system meant Nolin's level of danger had not yet been classified. Under state law, police may circulate fliers announcing the presence of the most dangerous offenders.

In addition to his church job, Nolin worked at Cumberland Farms, directly across from the police station, and as an apprentice to a local plumber, Tom Tobey, who declined to comment. "He feels really bad," said Abby Stone, 18, a waitress at Captain Kidd's bar in Woods Hole and Tobey's friend. "But who wouldn't give the guy a chance if he had a priest on his side saying he was cured?"

A friend of Wessner's worked for Tobey, too, and on Sept. 19 the friend invited Wessner, who worked as a golf pro at the Falmouth Country Club, and two other friends to a party at Nolin's house in Falmouth. One of the friends, Jay Summers, 18, said the young men had no idea of Nolin's record. In fact, Summers said, Nolin seemed "wicked normal."

Wessner and his friends stayed at Nolin's house all night, Summers said, drinking and talking. At about 7:30 a.m., Nolin suggested a drive to Woods Hole, about 5 miles away, to see a church bell tower he had keys to. Only Wessner went.

Nolin told his lawyer Nolan that he and Wessner watched the sun rise from St. Joseph's bell tower, a stone structure across the street from the church, and left in separate cars.

Authorities believe that Wessner was killed on a beach less than a mile from there, then moved 50 yards and buried under rocks. He was stabbed with a sharp weapon and hit with a blunt object.

Investigators still have questions: How did Wessner's bloodstained Jeep end up in Brockton? If Nolin drove it there, who drove him back? They hope Kelly or Turlick, who spoke to Nolin after the ex-convict was questioned by police, can shed light on Nolin's activities.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph's parishioners credit interim pastor the Rev. Joseph Mauritzen with helping them regroup.

But questions linger here, too. Jan Kelley's daughter Kacie, 16, wonders what to tell the 7-year-olds she teaches at church. Bailey Burke, 14, who received her First Communion from Kelly, initially declared that she wouldn't go back to catechism class. But she said church members persuaded her to reconsider.

"It's weird," Burke said as she watched a field hockey game at Falmouth High School, "because you're supposed to trust your priest."

John Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this story.
[Photo Caption - Abby Stone said a friend hired murder suspect Paul R. Nolin Jr. believing "he was cured." Photo by Stephen Rose. State Police searched for clues on Oct. 4 near Little Harbor in Woods Hole, where the remains of Jonathan Wessner were found. Photo by Steve Heaslip]

Witness offers key link
Slaying suspect Paul Nolin sought ride from Brockton, where victim's car was found

By Amanda Lehmert
Cape Cod Times
October 29, 2003

BARNSTABLE - The mystery surrounding a key piece of evidence in the Jonathan Wessner killing was answered yesterday as a grand jury heard testimony in the case.

[Photo Caption - Legal experts say a judge may have to order the Rev. Bernard R. Kelly, here leaving Barnstable Superior Court yesterday, to testify about his relationship with murder suspect Paul Nolin. (Staff photo by Steve Heaslip)]

A few hours after friends saw Jonathan Wessner leave a Woods Hole party with Paul Nolin Jr., Wessner was missing and Nolin needed a ride home from Brockton.

A South Shore man who worked with Nolin told a grand jury he drove Nolin from a Shaw's supermarket in Brockton to St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole. Wessner's blood-stained Jeep Cherokee was found in the Shaw's parking lot several days later.

The testimony by Shawn Schirmer linked Nolin to the place where the car was discovered as prosecutors constructed a case against Nolin, the 39-year-old handyman accused of stabbing and beating Wessner in a Woods Hole boathouse.

Schirmer said after his grand jury testimony - which is closed to the public - that he didn't know anything about crime Paul Nolin is accused of committing. But he said Nolin asked that Schirmer not tell anyone he had seen him.

"I'm just glad he's behind bars. I just hate him bringing me into this," Schirmer said.

A parade of witnesses made their way into Barnstable Superior Court yesterday as the 23-person grand jury began hearing District Attorney Michael O'Keefe's case to indict Nolin on charges of kidnapping and murdering Wessner, 20, of East Falmouth.

Nolin, a convicted child rapist, has pleaded innocent in district court to kidnapping and murder. He is being held without bail in the Barnstable County House of Correction.

After two weeks of searching by authorities, family and friends, Wessner's body was found partially buried on a Woods Hole Beach on Oct. 4.

The case has shaken the community and resulted in the suspension of a parish priest after a source revealed the clergyman had conducted a sexual relationship with Nolin.

Priest declines to testify

The Rev. Bernard Kelly, who was removed from St. Joseph's earlier this month as details of his relationship with Nolin came to light, was among those called to testify before the grand jury yesterday. But Kelly refused to testify, asserting a priest's penitent privilege, according to a source.
The privilege allows a priest to keep secret information told to him by someone seeking spiritual guidance or in confession, unless the person gives permission, according to state law.

Asst. District Attorney Michael Trudeau said yesterday he could not discuss what happened with the grand jury, but legal experts said the DA's office will have to go to a judge if they want Kelly to testify under oath.

Wessner was last seen leaving a party with Nolin in the early hours of Sept. 20, according to witnesses. The pair was going to check out the morning views in Woods Hole, Nolin's friend and former therapist Donald Turlick told the Times.

Wessner never showed up at work at Falmouth Country Club that day. His car was spotted in Woods Hole that morning, but was gone by the afternoon.

Brockton police identified the car in the Shaw's parking lot later that week.

Returns to rectory

Schirmer said he got a call on the afternoon of Sept. 20 from Nolin, who Schirmer said he has known for several years and who had worked for his maintenance business.

Nolin told him some friends had abandoned him at a Brockton hotel and asked him for a ride back to Woods Hole, Schirmer said.

Schirmer said he picked up Nolin at the supermarket and drove him to the St. Joseph rectory, where Nolin's car was parked in the driveway.

Schirmer said that when investigators tracked him down with phone records, he told them the truth. Yesterday he was angry with Nolin.

"He took me along for the ride," Schirmer said.

It was uncertain what investigators hoped to learn about the case from Kelly before he asserted the priest-penitent privilege before the grand jury yesterday.

Flanked by his attorneys, Kelly would not answer questions as he entered and left the courthouse.

"Seating before the grand jury is secret and we won't comment on it," said his attorney, Francis O'Boy. "I'm not at liberty to say what our client testified to. I will leave it to Mike (O'Keefe) to make the next move."

Paul Martinek, publisher of Lawyers Weekly USA, said the district attorney could get a court order to compel Kelly to testify on the grounds that any statements Nolin made to Kelly were outside the grounds of privilege.

Kelly and Nolin were friends who socialized outside of the church, where Nolin worked as a handyman. A source close to the investigation said Nolin and Kelly had a sexual relationship, which Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, denies.

Nolan said he did not know what Kelly had done in court yesterday. But he said if the district attorney tries to break the privilege in pretrial motions, he would argue against it.

Investigators also want the grand jury to hear from Turlick, a retired priest who rented space in his Mashpee home to Nolin. Turlick could be summonsed for a later date while the grand jury continues to weigh the evidence.

A predator in her town
A Mashpee mother tells of her fear and frustration trying to identify Paul Nolin when he lived in her neighborhood

By Amanda Lehmert
Cape Cod Times
October 30, 2003

MASHPEE - Jennifer McDonald knew a sexual predator lived in her neighborhood, but she didn't know his name or address.

[Photo Caption - Jennifer McDonald says she is angry at the people and the system that brought Paul Nolin into her Mashpee neighbor. hood. (Staff photo by Matt Suess)]

That uncertainty made her rush home from work in fear that her 6-year-old son would be alone when he got off the school bus.

Now she knows who presented that threat and she is angry. Angry at the Rev. Donald Turlick, a Catholic priest who quietly brought Paul Nolin into her neighborhood. Angry that the state's sex offender registry board could not warn her of Nolin's presence.

Nolin, 39, who served 18 years for raping an 11-year-old Lowell boy, is now accused of kidnapping and murdering Jonathan Wessner, 20, of Falmouth.

He pleaded innocent to the charges Oct. 2 and is being held without bail at the Barnstable County House of Correction.

But before Nolin's arrest for the Sept. 20 killing, McDonald spent three anxious years keeping her two young sons close.

Guessing game

When she walked around her Degrasse Road neighborhood in Mashpee, she tried to guess the sexual predator's identity and where he lived. She learned only a few weeks ago that the man she feared had moved to Falmouth a year ago.

It was a local police department employee who leaked to neighbors that a sex offender lived in the quiet neighborhood with the dense trees and Cape-style homes. But he could only say the predator lived somewhere within a mile radius.

"The day I found out I was just hysterical sobbing," said McDonald, a Bourne High School English and broadcast journalism teacher who lives about a quarter-mile from Turlick's house. "I was just angry not knowing how the system worked ... Yeah, you lose sleep over that."

McDonald went to the police to find out the sex offender's address and what his crime had been but quickly discovered the police could not tell her.

State law prevents police from giving out information about sex offenders unless the offenders have been classified as a level 2 or level 3 by the state's Sex Offenders Registry Board.

Nolin, now three years out of prison, is among thousands of sex offenders statewide still unclassified.


The lack of information about the predator made McDonald anxious, so she decided to educate herself.
She said she felt a bit more confident reading that most offenders chose children they know, not random neighbors. She took the advice of a family friend and police officer to "just be a good parent" and pay attention to her children.

A nearby neighbor, Bob Nelson, gave an old speech to his two young daughters who played and rode all over the neighborhood on their bikes.

"We just told them that there was danger in the world and said, 'In order to stay safe, stay together. Don't talk to strangers.' We didn't go into details."

As the years passed, the initial shock wore off.

Regular police patrols through the peaceful streets calmed fear. But anger has emerged in its place as neighbors learned the confidential details of Nolin's life and those of Turlick's as well.

Turlick, 68, a priest who was granted permission from church officials in the early 1970s to do secular work as a therapist, treated Nolin about a decade ago when he was committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the sexually dangerous in Bridgewater.

Nolin wanted a transfer from the center to prison (thus making him eligible for parole) but first he had to be declared no longer sexually dangerous. Until that happened his sentence was uncertain.

At a 1994 hearing to make that determination, Turlick testified on Nolin's behalf. He told a superior court judge that he was Nolin's mentor and would help him transition back into the community when he left prison, according to court documents.

The judge, based on the testimony of four other therapists, declared Nolin no longer dangerous and he was transferred to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk.

After Nolin was released from prison in June 2000, he moved to Turlick's cottage-style house on a pie-shaped slice of land at Tracy Lane and Degrasse Road in Mashpee.

Turlick's attorney and spokeswoman, Kathleen English of Falmouth, said her client's actions don't seem strange if you consider all the work he has done to rehabilitate offenders.

"His mission was to try to see Christ in all people, that nobody was just a throwaway. Everybody has some worth," she said.

Those living in Turlick's neighborhood could perhaps understand this had he been honest and open about Nolin.

There are around 40 children of high school age or younger in the neighborhood, said Nelson, whose home is about a quarter- mile from Turlick's house.

Nelson's daughters adopted a pair of ducks in the swampy area next to Turlick's property. School children wait for the bus in front of Turlick's house.

"We feel terrible. You live in a really quiet neighborhood and you think you're safe and then boom," said Nelson, a lab manager at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole. "I can't imagine what the Wessner family is feeling like, but we feel like we just dodged a bullet."

Wessner was last seen Sept. 20 leaving a party with Nolin that was thrown at Nolin's Falmouth home. Wessner's body was found partially buried on a Woods Hole beach Oct. 4.

McDonald wrote a letter to Gov. Mitt Romney a few weeks ago, asking him to fix the registry to make sure offenders are classified quickly.

"There is a law that is meant to protect people and it's not working. Fix it," she said in an interview yesterday.

Although she said she respects a convicted sex offender's right to live wherever he chooses after completing his prison sentence, as a neighbor, she wants to know where he is, and let him know she's watching him.

Priest pals may be forced to testify
Cape grand jury probing murder of Falmouth man

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald
October 30, 2003

Cape prosecutors will ask a judge tomorrow to force accused killer Paul Nolin's two priest pals to tell a grand jury what they know about last month's slaying of an aspiring Falmouth golf pro, according to a source close to the case.

[Photo Caption - Witness: The Rev. Bernard Kelly leaves Barnstable Superior court this week.]

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe will file a motion to force the Rev. Bernard Kelly and the Rev. Donald Turlick to testify before a grand jury about the Sept. 20 killing of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner.

Kelly, who gave Nolin a job at St. Joseph's Church in Falmouth, appeared before the grand jury in Barnstable this week but refused to testify, claiming his conversations with the convicted child rapist were privileged, a source said.

Turlick, 68, is reportedly in Florida but authorities believe he too will refuse to testify, according to the source. Turlick counseled Nolin while Nolin was locked up for the 1982 rape of a 10-year-old boy and rented him an apartment when he was released from jail in 2000.

Kelly, 70, and Nolin, 39, were allegedly involved in a sexual relationship, which could hinder Kelly's claims that their conversations were protected by the rules of the church. Nolin's attorney, Robert Nolan, denies any sexual relationship between the two.

"It's up to the judge to determine whether the conversations took place while (Nolin) was seeking spiritual guidance," the source said.

Kelly has been suspended by the Fall River diocese over his role in the murder probe. Turlick is a priest "in good standing" who has been on leave from the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese for 30 years, church officials say.

O'Keefe did not return a call seeking comment.

News of the prosecutor's move comes as a Barnstable Superior Court grand jury heard from Nolin's friend, Shawn Schirmer, who admitted giving Nolin a ride from Brockton to Falmouth after the slaying. Wessner's blood-stained Jeep was found in Brockton several days after the murder.

Jessica Heslam contributed to this report.

Victims: Church still ignoring us

By Gregg M. Miliote
Fall River Herald News
October 31, 2003

FALL RIVER -- The man who initiated the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against former St. Stanislaus Church Pastor Robert S. Kaszynski is hoping to finally get his chance to sit down with diocesan leadership and is passing out a petition aimed at removing a plaque from the church grounds dedicated in Kaszynski’s honor.

But according to the Diocese of Fall River, the plaque was removed shortly after the matter was brought to its attention late last month.

Paul Krupa, who said he witnessed Kaszynski abuse four young girls during the 1960s and 1970s, also says he has been ignored by Bishop George W. Coleman.

Krupa said he has sent numerous letters and placed several phone calls to the diocese about setting up a meeting with Kaszynski, Coleman and the victims, but has been ignored.

"The bishop is stonewalling us again. They have to realize they have to do something," Krupa said. "The church is back in its old style of ignoring things until they just go away."

Krupa’s petition mainly focuses on the plaque honoring the former church leader and requests that Dr. Irving Fradkin remove Kaszynski’s name from his "Book of Living Heroes" presented to the mayor last year.

Fradkin did not return calls for comment Thursday afternoon.

The plaque, which has been removed, was erected in 1978 and dedicated in honor "of its beloved and eloquent spiritual leader Reverend Robert S. Kaszynski."

The engraved plaque reads, "Known to so many affectionately as ‘Father K’ who was instrumental in the acquisition of this land and the completion of the grotto and grounds. From his hands to ours and into the hands of the generations of God’s faithful yet unborn we confer this legacy of love."

Krupa said while attending a ceremony on Sept. 11, he came across the brass commemorative plaque and it made him sick.

"Just seeing that really, really bothered me and I know it’s bothered others," Krupa said. "I knew I had to do something, because this plaque needed to be removed."

A Sept. 24 letter sent by Krupa to St. Stanislaus Rev. Bruce Neylon apparently spurred the diocese on to remove the plaque from the church grotto.

Diocesan spokesman John Kearns said the plaque was removed days after it was brought to Neylon’s attention.

Krupa has garnered "a handful" of signatures thus far, including one by the woman who made the first public allegation of sexual molestation against Kaszynski.

Joyce Nebush, a former Fall River and Westport resident who now lives in Utica, N.Y., came forward last June to tell her story of abuse.

Nebush said the abuses began during her freshman year when Kaszynski allegedly asked her to sit on his lap in the rectory. The incidents apparently progressed from that point for the next three years, she said.

Nebush was issued an apology from the diocese and Kaszynski finally resigned in March 2002 after another private sexual molestation allegation surfaced. He is currently living in Westport.

Kaszynski was also named by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office as one of 21 local priests believed to have sexually molested children, but he could not be prosecuted on the accusations because the statute of limitations on the cases had expired.

Krupa and others have been actively attempting to have Kaszynski defrocked, but have not been able to take the first step towards closure through a meeting with diocesan leaders.

Nebush, like Krupa, has undergone intensive therapy in an attempt to heal, but Krupa said it will never be enough until the church allows all the victims to sit down with Kaszynski and the bishop.

"It’s just scandalous what’s going on here," Krupa said. "I went to counseling for observing all these abuses as a child. I’m an abuse victim in my own right. Someone needs to talk with us."

Kearns said he did not know if Coleman would meet with Krupa at this time, an answer Krupa said he expected.

"The bishop is just playing down the issue again. It’s obvious that the church culture has still not changed," Krupa added. "Yes, I’m very angry and bitter about what happened, but the church just continues to lie to and ignore us."

Police seek six offenders not on books
Stepped-up use of the state's sex-criminal database turns up registry violations

By Amanda Lehmert
Cape Cod Times
October 31, 2003

YARMOUTH - Earlier this week, a routine traffic stop led to the arrest of a convicted sex offender who, Yarmouth police said, had not properly registered with the state.

Yesterday, Yarmouth police said they have developed a list of six sex offenders with ties to Yarmouth who are now wanted for violating state offender registry laws.

Lt. Steven Xiarhos said police have stepped up use of a database provided by the Sex Offender Registry Board to track and arrest lawbreakers.

Names of the six were not available from police yesterday.

Offenders convicted of not registering proper home and work addresses with the board face up to five years in prison.

Interest in tracking sex offenders in the community was touched off recently by the news that convicted child rapist Paul Nolin lived in Falmouth for almost a year - eight months of which he was officially in violation of the law for failing to register his change of address with the board.

Nolin went undetected by local police until September, when he became a suspect in the murder of Jonathan Wessner.

Nolin pleaded innocent to kidnapping and murder charges and is being held without bail at the Barnstable County House of Correction.

He is one of thousands awaiting classification by the registry board. If the board classifies a person as a level 2 or level 3 offender, the public can have access to his personal information.

Even before offenders are classified, their work and home addresses are listed in the sex offenders database provided to all police departments.

If offenders fail to register, police can pick them up without having to obtain a warrant.

Yarmouth police used the database yesterday to print a list of six local offenders listed as violators, Xiarhos said.

The town has tracked down violators previously, Xiarhos said. But this time, everyone from the records division to patrol officers will know who the local violators are.

More officers will understand how to use the database, he said.

"In the past officers didn't know how it worked. It's new technology and it's changing," he said. "We are trying to take the training we received and the technology we have and put it to work."

In some cases, the database provides several possible addresses for offenders. Registry board spokesman Charles McDonald said the database noted Nolin's Falmouth address.

But some Cape police departments have said they rely on the registry board to contact them directly if a offender is in violation.

Depending on the technology used by an individual police department, some officers may be able to access the database from computers in their cruisers during a typical traffic stop, McDonald said.

Yarmouth police used the database earlier this week to identify Michael Macura, who they arrested Wednesday for failing to register as a sex offender.

Patrol Officer Eric Nuff ran into Macura on a routine traffic stop several days ago, according to Xiarhos. After doing some digging in the database later, he discovered Macura was in violation.

Nuff found Macura at the Cavalier Motor Lodge in South Yarmouth.

"We try to be proactive. Sometimes it just takes training or knowledge," Xiarhos said.

The Yarmouth department will also host a registry board refresher course for Cape police departments next month, which will educate officers on use of the database, Xiarhos said.

Yarmouth isn't the only force actively seeking sex offender registry violators. The state police Violent Fugitives Apprehension Section has arrested about 400 people this year who violated registry laws, said Detective Lt. Kevin Horton.

Five teams around the state do regular sweeps, picking up people wanted on warrants. At the same time, they will look for sex offender registry violators.

Level 2 and 3 violators are immediately arrested. Lesser offenders are given the option to register with state police instead of facing arrest, Horton said.

"They are dangerous people and they are out there. We should know where they are," he said.

DA will contest priest's silence
Michael O'Keefe to argue special privilege cannot be used by clergy who befriended suspect

By Karen Jeffrey
Cape Cod Times
October 31, 2003

BARNSTABLE - The question of whether the Rev. Bernard Kelly can remain silent on what he knows about the murder of a young Falmouth man will be put to the test today.

[Photo Caption - Rev. Bernard Kelly, Confidant of accused killer Paul Nolin]

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe is expected to file a motion with a Superior Court judge seeking to force Kelly, a Roman Catholic priest, to testify before a Barnstable County grand jury investigating the murder of Jonathan Wessner.

Kelly, 70, is a pivotal figure in the investigation of the Sept. 20 killing of Wessner, 20, whose body was found hidden beneath rocks on a secluded beach in Woods Hole.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau declined comment yesterday about the motion that will be filed today.

"I can confirm we will be in court tomorrow in the matter of a case that is of ongoing interest to the grand jury," he said. "But, due to the nature of grand jury proceedings, which are secret, I cannot comment on particulars."

Nonetheless, sources say O'Keefe will try to persuade a Superior Court judge that Kelly's conversations with Paul Nolin Jr., the man accused of killing Wessner, should not fall under the category of protected religious privilege.

This week the grand jury began hearing evidence against Nolin.

Special privileges

Kelly was called to the grand jury Tuesday but refused to testify, claiming his conversations with Nolin are protected by a state law on religious privilege.
It was the same claim he made earlier this month when police tried to interview him shortly after Wessner's disappearance.

State law on religious privilege specifically protects confessions and communications made by an individual "seeking religious or spiritual advice or comfort and any advice given in professional capacity."

It is the communication that is protected, not the individual priest or clergy member, according to the law.

In this case the individual is Nolin.

Police have said they believe Nolin stopped by Kelly's residence in Woods Hole sometime after allegedly killing Wessner. They also believe Nolin had a sexual relationship with the priest.

Persuading a judge that Nolin's conversations with Kelly are exempt from clergy privilege could be tough, according to Paul Nemser, an attorney with Goodwin Proctor LLP in Boston and author of the book, "Massachusetts Evidentiary Privileges."

"Traditionally the courts have always come down on the side of privilege when it concerns clergy," he said.

Nemser said he could not recall a case in which a Massachusetts judge rejected a clergyman's claim of religious privilege.

Generally speaking, the courts have narrowly defined what is privileged information, he said. Privileged information being a communication between two people that cannot be divulged in court by the recipient unless they have permission from the informant.

Wide protection

Information provided by patients and clients to doctors, therapists and counselors is considered privileged under Massachusetts laws and the rules of evidence. Confessions and confidences shared with recognized clergy are also considered privileged communications under the same law and rules of evidence.
"Whether or not an individual has a personal relationship with the clergyman could be irrelevant," Nemser said.

"You can be friends with a priest or some other clergy and still seek advice and comfort from them," he said.

The courts have also ruled that communication is not limited to the spoken word.

"The act of showing a gun to a clergyperson can be considered privileged under certain circumstances," Nemser said.

Those circumstances are defined by why the individual is consulting a member of the clergy.

"The communication must be in the course of seeking religious or spiritual advice or comfort," Nemser said.

"When a question arises about the communication being privileged, then it is up to the court to decide. In the case of a grand jury investigation, the question would go to a Superior Court judge," he said.

The question before the judge will be whether Nolin's communications with Kelly were in pursuit of spiritual aid or comfort.

According to law enforcement, Nolin, the accused killer, had a long-standing relationship with Kelly and with the Rev. Donald Turlick, 68, a retired priest and psychotherapist.

Nolin worked as a handyman at St. Joseph's Church, where Kelly was a pastor. He has since been placed on administrative leave by Bishop George Coleman of the Fall River Diocese.

Bridgewater release

In a previous interview with the Cape Cod Times, Turlick's Falmouth attorney, Kathleen English, said Kelly, Turlick and Nolin met socially and occasionally had dinner together.

However, law enforcement sources say the relationship between the three men was more intimate.

Nolin allegedly had sexual relationships with both Kelly and Turlick.

Sources said Turlick met Nolin while the latter was still in prison, serving 18 years on a 20-year sentence for kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old boy in Lowell. Nolin was a patient at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons in Bridgewater during the late 1980s and early 1990s while Turlick counseled clients there.

According to one police officer, Nolin was Turlick's client at the center and Turlick testified in Nolin's behalf at the court hearing where Nolin was adjudicated to be no longer sexually dangerous. As a result, Nolin was released from the Bridgewater facility and allowed to serve out the remainder of his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk.

Nolin rented a basement apartment in Turlick's Mashpee apartment when he was released from prison.

Kelly and Turlick have known one another since the late 1950s when both went to seminary at St. Mary's in Baltimore.

Turlick allegedly introduced Nolin and other young men to Kelly.

Turlick was formerly assigned to the diocese of Bridgeport Conn., but left there 30 years ago to become a professor at Emmanuel College in Boston and a psychotherapist.

Lawyers representing each of the men did not return calls yesterday.



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