Fall River Resources – November 2003
By Karen Jeffrey
Yarmouth police hit the streets Thursday night in search of six convicted sex offenders the state claims live in the town.
By yesterday afternoon, however, police, frustrated by incorrect addresses found in the state's sex-offender database, had found only one of the six.
Last night, the whereabouts of the five convicted sex criminals, remained a mystery.
The Yarmouth experience is not unique. Across the Cape, police departments are trying to step up efforts to locate and arrest convicted sex offenders who are in violation of the state's registration requirement.
Convicted sex offenders are required by law to register their addresses annually with the state and local police departments.
But police are frequently stymied because the addresses offenders provide to the state are not kept up to date.
"It's frustrating," said Yarmouth Lt. Steven Xiarhos. "We've stepped up our efforts to track convicted sex offenders who are not registered, but the problem is, sometimes the offenders have moved. The addresses are no longer correct."
Last month's murder of Falmouth resident Jonathan Wessner, 20, and the arrest of convicted child rapist Paul R. Nolin in the case has renewed interest in the sex offender registry.
Earlier this month, Falmouth police came under criticism when it was discovered that murder suspect Nolin was a convicted sex offender and had served 18 years for the kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old Lowell boy.
Nolin had failed to register with Falmouth police until Sept. 23, three days after Wessner disappeared and at a time when Nolin was already under police scrutiny.
Yet prior to that, Falmouth police said they were unaware that Nolin lived in their town. They said state registry officials never notified them that Nolin had moved to Falmouth from Mashpee.
State officials countered, saying police could have found that Nolin was living in Falmouth and was in violation by checking the registry database for Falmouth addresses.
But even if Falmouth police had been routinely looking at the state database, there is no guarantee they could have located Nolin.
Police in Yarmouth said yesterday they checked the database and came up with the names and addresses of six convicted sex offenders supposedly living in Yarmouth who had not signed up with the police.
None of the addresses proved accurate.
Of the six offenders, police were able to track one down. But even this man's address taken from the state database was wrong.
Police said they went to that address, discovered the man had moved. They were finally able to locate him by learning where he worked in Hyannis.
This man registered Thursday after police told him to do so or face arrest. He was given until 4 p.m. to show up at the Yarmouth police station.
Xiarhos could not say if police would allow other unregistered offenders to turn themselves in.
"That's something we'll have to consider on a case-by-case basis," he said. "The point of all this is to bring people into compliance with the law. If it takes an arrest, then that's what we'll have to do."
Other town police departments are running into problems similar to Yarmouth's and are trying to decide how to proceed.
Eastham police checked with the sex offender registry recently and found
one unregistered sex offender listed in town, according to Eastham Det.
Benjamin Novotny, who is in charge of the town's sex offender registry
The address provided by the state for the offender was a house that changed ownership four years ago. Police have been unable to locate the offender.
Novotny said police had assumed that the registry was keeping track of where offenders are living and what cars they are driving. To have police checking seemed a duplication of effort, he said.
"Police are taking it seriously, but the rules have changed back and forth so often, it's been difficult to follow," said Novotny. "Some things have slipped through the cracks with unfortunate outcomes."
Harwich police have adopted a tough stance toward any sex offenders.
Harwich will follow Yarmouth's lead and compare its list of sexual offenders with the list maintained by the state's Sex Offender Registry Board, Gagnon said.
"We will do it in the next day or two. We take this very seriously," he said.
If other unregistered offenders are located in town they may be arrested, Gagnon said.
Brewster Police Lt. Dwayne Farley said police know where the one Level
3 sexual offender is in town, as well as six Level 2 offenders.
He also said that if offenders are found in town who have not registered as the law requires, they may be subject to arrest.
But he noted that in one recent case, a Level 3 sex offender living in Truro also stayed in Brewster on occasion. When Brewster police filed charges against him for not registering in Brewster, the court threw the charges out because the man was already registered in Truro.
In Chatham, Lt. Michael Walker said the department knows of 12 sexual
offenders in town, but only one of them has been classified as a Level
2 offender, and the appropriate public notifications have been made.
Walker said that state board numbers match the town's numbers. If offenders turn up who are not registered, Walker said police will tell them to register immediately.
"If they don't we would probably seek a court complaint," Walker said.
Barnstable Police records property supervisor Kathy Hinckley said she
used to dedicate about 20 percent of her time managing the town's sex
offender registry records.
Over the past few weeks, she has been pouring over registry records to make sure they match with Barnstable's files. There are discrepancies.
Hinckley has noted that two people listed in the registry database as Barnstable residents have since moved to Harwich and Oak Bluffs.
"We did not receive any notification, nor have we yet received notice that they moved from our community," Hinckley said. "We hope that when the board gets this type of information, that they forward it one to us, and that's not always the case."
A few people who are listed as living in Barnstable are actually in jail and no longer in the community. And there are two or three others who have registered with the town but don't appear on the registry database.
"I have no idea why they aren't in the database," she said.
Lt. John Lundborn, in charge of Truro's sex offender registration program, said his department regularly checks the state registry list with its own records, and so far they are the same.
"There's been an increased concern as to who's in the neighborhood,"
said Lt. Joel Gould.
Police officials in Provincetown who are in charge of sex offender registrations did not return a telephone call yesterday.
* Increased interest: The Jonathan Wessner murder case has sparked renewed
interest in the state database used to track convicted sex criminals.
Staff reporters Emily C. Dooley, John Leaning, Doug Fraser, K.C. Myers and Kevin Dennehy contributed to this report.
Priest refuses to testify in Cape killing
By Dave Wedge
BARNSTABLE - The embattled priest pal of accused killer Paul Nolin stood firm yesterday in his refusal to testify in the case, claiming their dealings are protected as spiritual guidance, his lawyer said.
"I've advised him to assert whatever privileges and immunities are available under the law," said Frank O'Boy, attorney for the Rev. Bernard Kelly.
[Photo Caption - Nolin: Suspect in Woods Hole murder case.]
Kelly, who employed Nolin as a handyman at St. Joseph's Church, refused to testify this week before a grand jury probing the Sept. 20 killing of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner. Authorities say Nolin, a convicted child rapist, met the aspiring golf pro at a late-night party, stabbed him in a Woods Hole boathouse and dumped his body on a rocky shoreline.
Kelly, 70, claims his conversations with Nolin are protected under a state law shielding statements made to priests by defendants "seeking religious or spiritual advice or comfort."
"He's asserted certain privileges," O'Boy said.
Prosecutors, however, reportedly believe Nolin and Kelly had a sexual relationship and want a judge to force the priest to testify. Kelly, who has been suspended by the Fall River diocese because of the ongoing probe, hid his face behind a newspaper and refused comment after appearing before a Barnstable Superior Court judge yesterday. The judge is expected to rule on Kelly's testimony next week.
Another priest tied to Nolin, the Rev. Donald Turlick, has also reportedly refused to cooperate in the probe. Turlick counseled Nolin while Nolin was serving 18 years in jail for raping a 10-year-old boy and rented him an apartment when he was released in 2000. Citing anonymous law enforcement sources, the Cape Cod Times yesterday reported Nolin had a sexual relationship with Turlick.
Turlick and Kelly are close friends who graduated from the seminary together in the late-1960s. Turlick, 68, is reportedly at a conference in Florida and his lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.
Neighbors of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole expressed anger that the convicted pedophile worked for Kelly at the church. Nolin, a plumber's apprentice, also worked at many homes in the waterfront hamlet.
"I'm shocked. Absolutely shocked," said Elizabeth Farnham. "After all the craziness that went on in Boston with the church (sexual abuse scandal), one would think there would be some awareness of the behavior."
Church failed to monitor Turlick
By Sean Gonsalves
In the 25 years since the Rev. Donald Turlick traded his priestly duties for those of a psychology professor and therapist to pedophiles and rapists, he received little, if any, supervision from Roman Catholic Church officials.
In fact, Connecticut church officials could not explain why Turlick, on leave since 1978, remains a priest "in good standing" even though he hasn't functioned as a priest since then and hasn't been listed in the Official Catholic Directory since 1988. The directory contains the names and assignments of every priest in the United States, including those on leave.
Turlick, 68, of Mashpee is the man who brought convicted child rapist Paul Nolin to live on the Cape after his release from prison in June 2000.
Nolin, 39, is accused of the Sept. 20 kidnapping and murder of Jonathan Wessner, a 20-year-old aspiring golf pro. Turlick, one of Nolin's therapists a dozen years ago at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater, helped Nolin get out of the center so he would be eligible for release when his prison sentence was served.
Law enforcement sources allege that Turlick had a sexual relationship with Nolin and introduced Nolin and other young men to the Rev. Bernard Kelly, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole. Fall River Bishop George Coleman has placed Kelly on leave pending completion of the investigation.
Nolin's attorney denies his client was having sex with Kelly, and Turlick's attorney said the three were just friends who often socialized.
Neither Turlick nor Kelly could be reached for comment.
As of Friday, Turlick was out of town and not cooperating with murder investigators. He has not yet been served with a subpoena to testify before the Barnstable County grand jury, which is investigating Wessner's murder.
Turlick's connection with Nolin, the fact that he was not monitored by church officials for 25 years and has not been listed in the directory for 15 years, are indications that Turlick may have had problems when working as a priest, according to church observers.
Those problems could be as simple as a man deciding he is not cut out for the priesthood or something more serious, said Terry McKiernan, a Catholic activist who operates the Web site Bishopaccountability.org. "You can tell when a priest is in trouble by his record. People don't just vanish out of the Catholic Directory."
Lax supervision protocol
Former Bridgeport, Conn., Bishop Walter W. Curtis, now deceased, granted Turlick permission to work outside the diocese to pursue a secular career, Joseph McAleer, diocese spokesman, said in an e-mail interview last week.
But McAleer could not say why Turlick is no longer listed in the Catholic directory. And he would not be specific about how diocese officials monitored Turlick's work with sex offenders over the years, including directing a furlough release program for the sex offenders at Bridgewater.
The Bridgeport Diocese, like any other diocese, "maintains contact with its priests who are living and working elsewhere," McAleer said. "This is the case with Father Turlick. He is a 'priest in good standing,' as there are no complaints made against him."
McAleer would not say how frequently diocese officials checked in on Turlick, how contact was made or when Turlick last spoke with diocese officials.
The Rev. Richard McBrien, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame who attended seminary with Turlick and is assigned to the Hartford, Conn., diocese, is skeptical that church officials kept an eye on Turlick's activities. McBrien said church officials don't carefully monitor priests who pursue ministerial work beyond the confines of their home diocese.
"I served under three bishops in Connecticut. Each gave me permission to teach at various seminaries over the years, including here at the University of Notre Dame."
But none of those bishops, McBrien said, required that he regularly report back to the diocese, though McBrien said he does so once a year on his own initiative.
"I'm not aware of any standard procedure or protocol where bishops have a way of keeping in touch with priests working outside of the diocese," he said.
In the Fall River Diocese, which includes the Cape and islands, there are four priests working outside the diocese but they are working for or studying with Catholic Church organizations, said diocese spokesman John Kearns.
Turlick's situation is very rare, he said, because his work has been secular and because most leaves granted to priests are one or two years.
McBrien is also curious about why Turlick's name has been dropped from
the directory. "Every priest in good standing is listed in that directory,"
McBrien, a longtime syndicated weekly columnist and author of numerous books on Catholicism, including "The Lives of the Saints" (2001), said that any former priest who is not listed in the directory is considered to be not in good standing with the church.
Beyond insisting Turlick is a priest in good standing with the Bridgeport Diocese, McAleer will not release any information about Turlick's assignments in the diocese before he was granted a leave. But McKiernan, whose Web site keeps track of American bishops and their role in the church sex scandal, has studied the career records of scores of priests, including Turlick.
He looked at annual Catholic directories going back to 1962, when Turlick became a priest and was assigned to St. Matthew's Church in Norwalk, Conn. Turlick moved in 1963 to Central Catholic High School, staying until 1964, and in 1965 he was moved to St. Jerome's church and school in Norwalk, Conn., where he stayed until 1969.
He was listed as being on duty outside the diocese at Boston University, where he earned a doctorate in education, from 1970 to 1974. He was then assigned to St. Catherine's in Riverside, Conn., from 1975 to 1977. After that he was listed as absent on leave from 1978 to 1987. That was the last time his name was listed in the directory, according to McKiernan.
After Turlick went on leave, he became an assistant professor at Emmanuel College in Boston, where he taught psychology.
The 2003 edition does not include Turlick among the list of 14 Bridgeport priests working outside the diocese. Neither is Turlick listed among the Bridgeport diocesan priests who are on leave or retired.
"Why is the Diocese of Bridgeport doing this?" McBrien asked. "What are they covering up? Either he's a priest in good standing or he is not. If he's a priest in good standing, why isn't he in the directory?"
McAleer said he couldn't explain why Turlick's name is absent from the directory, adding that it may have been a clerical oversight.
"I simply don't have an answer for you, only the facts, which are coming from the proper source, namely the Diocese of Bridgeport."
But what makes the omission seem all the more suspicious to some church observers is that it is not uncommon for priests to work outside of the diocese in which they were ordained.
"Every diocese has someone working outside of the diocese," McBrien said, pointing to his own career as an example. "I'm in the directory even though I'm working outside of the diocese."
Despite McBrien's experience of not hearing from his diocese regularly, Kearns of the Fall River Diocese says that has changed.
Church officials may not have monitored the work of priests outside the diocese 20 or 30 years ago, but in recent years priests working outside of their diocese are monitored much more closely, he said.
"Let's say a priest is visiting the Cape for the summer and wants to continue in his priestly ministries. That requires a mandatory exchange of paperwork between the dioceses and parishes involved to verify that the priest is in good standing," Kearns said.
"In this day and age, priests are monitored much more carefully than they used to be. It's very structured."
Who a priest reports to depends on how he was ordained. A diocesan priest answers to the diocese bishop. A priest ordained by a religious order answers to the superior of the order.
There's no such thing as a freelance priest, Kearns said.
In the Fall River Diocese, which includes 22 parishes on the Cape and islands, there are 173 diocesan priests. Of those, 133 are active; four are working or studying outside of the diocese; two are working in foreign missions and 34 are retired or on leave, which includes Kelly, 70, the recently removed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Woods Hole.
Kelly was subpoenaed to testify at the grand jury investigating Wessner's murder but so far has refused to testify, citing penitent privilege.
"If a priest is working outside of the diocese he is doing so with the permission of the bishop of his home diocese and the permission of the bishop of the diocese where the priest is working," Kearns explained.
But if a priest has been defrocked or is on leave, as is the case with both Turlick and now Kelly, "those priests are not permitted to function as priests. They can't wear the collar, lead Mass or present themselves as priests in any way," Kearns said.
The Fall River Diocese has a priest who serves as a liaison between the bishop and priests who are not active in the diocese, although Kearns wasn't able to provide details as to how often, and in what way, the liaison checks on priests not serving in any of the diocese's 101 parishes.
And neither could McAleer, who also insists that his diocese has a similar priest "watchdog" who is expected to keep in regular contact with priests like Turlick.
Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims over the past 10 years, said his experience has shown that church officials have done a poor job of keeping track of priests activities.
"Let's face it, the supervising is sloppy, whether intentional or unintentional," he said. "The records indicate that the supervising priests don't properly supervise.
"And remember (the Rev. John) Geoghan was in a retirement home when he was still molesting children."
At a glance
* The Rev. Donald Turlick has not performed traditional priestly duties
Prosecutors Seek Priest's Conversations
By Anne Barnard email@example.com
BARNSTABLE - Prosecutors yesterday asked a judge to order a suspended priest, the Rev. Bernard R. Kelly, to tell a grand jury about conversations he had with murder suspect Paul R. Nolin Jr., in a case that could help define the boundaries of priests' and parishioners' legal rights to keep their communications secret.
Kelly, former pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole, refused to testify this week before a grand jury investigating the killing of Jonathan Wessner, 20, said Kelly's lawyer. The lawyer, Francis O'Boy, contends that conversations between the priest and Nolin are covered by state law and court precedents that forbid clergy to disclose what they are told by people seeking spiritual guidance.
But Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe challenged Kelly's assertion yesterday in a closed-door hearing in Barnstable County Superior Court, according to O'Boy and other lawyers familiar with the case. The hearing was closed to the public because it involves ongoing secret grand jury proceedings, but prosecutors had signaled their intent to argue that Nolin's conversations with the priest took place outside a religious or spiritual context, lawyers familiar with the case said.
A law enforcement source has said that Kelly told investigators earlier this month that he had a sexual relationship with Nolin. Yesterday, addressing the allegation for the first time, O'Boy told reporters, "I have no knowledge of that."
O'Boy said he did not believe Kelly was a suspect in the killing or a target of the grand jury investigation, adding, that "anybody who's called before a grand jury is probably going to be apprehensive."
Kelly, 70, declined to answer questions as he left the courthouse.
Prosecutors hope Kelly's testimony will bolster their case against Nolin, 39, a convicted child rapist who worked at Kelly's church as a handyman. Nolin has pleaded not guilty to charges that he beat and stabbed Wessner to death Sept. 20 on a Woods Hole beach less than a mile from the church. Nolin denies having a sexual relationship with Kelly, according to his lawyer, Robert W. Nolan, who contends that even if the two were intimate, Nolin's statements to Kelly are confidential.
Earlier this week, the grand jury heard testimony linking Nolin to the Brockton parking lot where Wessner's bloodstained Jeep was found, said lawyers familiar with the case. Shawn Schirmer, a friend of Nolin's, testified that he picked up Nolin there Sept. 20 after Nolin told him he had been abandoned nearby by other friends. Outside his South Shore apartment complex yesterday, Schirmer declined to speak with a reporter.
Massachusetts lawyers said Judge Richard F. Connon's decision, expected next week, could have broader legal importance because there is little state case law to define exactly what interactions are protected under what is sometimes called the "priest-penitient privilege."
Roderick MacLeish Jr., who represents alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse, said the privilege has often been "overused by lawyers representing religious organizations to provent the truth from coming out,"
Other lawyers, meanwhile, worry that narrowing the privilege could have a chilling effect on people's ability to turn to religious counselors, said David Yas, a lawyer who is editor of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Specialists could not think of a case that tested whether a priest's sexual relationship with a client removed the privilege. But they said Connon will have to weigh many factors to determine whether Nolin was seeking spiritual guidance.
"What was said, where was it said, why was it said, who was present?" said Mitchell Garabedian, another lawyer for alleged abuse victims.
"Just because you're hanging with your priest, it doesn't mean everything you say to him is privileged. It has to be a specific conversation on the subject of religion," Yas said.
But Paul Nemser, a lawyer with Goodwin Procter LLP who has written a book on the clergy privilege and analagous protections that cover statements people make to their doctors, lawyers, and psychologists, noted that a 1962 law covers statements by anyone "seeking religious or spiritual advice or comfort" and advice clergy gives "in professional capacity or professional character."
"The line between friendly conversation and spiritual advice could be somewhat blurry," Nemser said.
The Fall River Diocese, which suspended Kelly from his parish earlier this month and urged him to fully cooperate with authorities, was not represented at the hearing, said spokesman John Kearns. He said the diocese did not have enough information to take a position on whether Kelly can legitimately refuse to testify.
Another priest who has been questioned in the case, The Rev. Donald Turlick, does not plan to assert the priest privilege when he is called before the grand jury as expected, said his lawyer, Kathleen English. That is because Turlick did not serve as Nolin's priest and has not actively worked as a priest in years, she said. (English is married to Nolin's lawyer, Nolan. Turlick, she said, would retain another lawyer to help with his grand jury appearance to avoid a conflict of interest. Turlick, a licensed psychologist and Kelly's seminary classmate, counseled Nolin when he was an inmate at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater. After Nolin served his 18-year-sentence, Turlick said he rented him an apartment in his Mashpee home, helped him find jobs and introduced him to Kelly. Turlick has said that he, Nolin, and Kelly occasionally socialized together and described Kelly as a close friend.
But yesterday, Kelly's lawyer, O'Boy, sought to distance his client from Turlick, saying he and Kelly "appear to be acquaintances."
Nolin's bail denial opposed
By Amanda Lehmert
FALMOUTH - The attorney for accused murderer Paul Nolin wants to see all the evidence the district attorney has against his client.
[Photo Caption - Paul Nolin, Charged with the murder of Jonathan Wessner.]
Yesterday, during a brief hearing in Falmouth District Court, Robert Nolan questioned whether the state had enough evidence to continue holding his client, Nolin, without bail.
Nolan told Falmouth Judge Michael Creedon his client has been held without bail at the Barnstable County House of Correction for a month despite the fact that District Attorney Michael O'Keefe has provided Nolan little information about the charges.
Nolin, 39, pleaded innocent Oct. 2 to kidnapping and murdering Jonathan Wessner of Falmouth. Wessner, 20, was last seen Sept. 20 leaving a party with Nolin. Wessner's body was found partially buried on a beach in Woods Hole on Oct. 4.
The district court proceedings may be moot if a grand jury indicts Nolin, thereby moving the case to Superior Court. The 23-member jury will reconvene today for a second day of testimony in Barnstable.
The Rev. Donald Turlick, 68, a priest and therapist to Nolin, will testify before the grand jury when he returns from an out-of-state conference later this month, according to his spokeswoman, Kathleen English.
But it remains uncertain whether the Rev. Bernard Kelly, 70, will testify. Kelly was pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole until he was placed on leave pending completion of the Wessner murder investigation.
Nolin worked as a handyman around the church and socialized with Kelly and Turlick.
Kelly was called before the grand jury last week but refused to testify, citing a priest's penitent privilege. On Friday, O'Keefe asked a Superior Court judge to compel Kelly to testify. As of yesterday the judge had not rendered a decision.
Request for evidence
In Falmouth District Court yesterday, Nolin's attorney filed a motion
for discovery, requesting copies of everything from Wessner's autopsy
reports to photographs of the crime scene to the personal information
of every person interviewed by the state.
"We have nothing to work with. We have nothing from the DA's office," Nolan said.
Assistant District Attorney Seth Roman countered that Nolin's attorney was provided full access to the arrest affidavit and the search warrants.
Judge Creedon told Roman he has a week to legally justify why the district attorney is not giving to Nolan every piece of evidence collected by investigators. First Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau said the district attorney's office would have to look at what Nolan was asking for before determining how to proceed.
Hyannis defense attorney Thomas Rugo said motions for discovery are strictly procedural, and the state should be forthcoming about handing over the information it has gathered.
"It's the defense attorney's job to put on the record his request for anything and everything, and it's (the prosecution's) obligation to provide that information to him in a timely fashion," Rugo said.
The case could move out of the district court soon and on to Superior Court if the grand jury indicts Nolin. Felonies, such as the murder and kidnapping charges, must be tried in Superior Court.
Hurt by press coverage
While Kelly has declined to testify before the grand jury, Turlick looks forward to testifying because he feels he has been unfairly treated in the press, according to English, his spokeswoman.
Investigators have said Turlick has been uncooperative, but English said Turlick sat through a three-hour interview with investigators several weeks ago.
Turlick rented Nolin a room at his Mashpee home in 2000 when Nolin completed an 18-year prison sentence for raping an 11-year-old boy. English said claims by law enforcement officials that Turlick and Nolin had a sexual relationship are false.
Although some of Turlick's neighbors have been upset he would move Nolin to the community without telling anyone, English says Turlick has done nothing wrong.
"He doesn't have any obligation to go to the neighbors and tell them," she said. "There were no crimes against children when (Paul Nolin) was in that neighborhood and there are no crimes against children now."
Turlick's leaving town for a conference was not a way of avoiding testifying before the grand jury, English said. The trip was planned as far back as September, she said.
Turlick's private practice as a therapist in Barnstable has been badly damaged by the news coverage of his connection to Nolin, she said, so he may have to retire.
Man tells of helping friend now accused of Cape slaying
By Anne Barnard firstname.lastname@example.org
FALMOUTH -- The day Jonathan Wessner disappeared, Paul R. Nolin Jr. called his friend Shawn Schirmer and said he was ''in a lot of trouble,'' but never explained why, said Schirmer, who testified last week before a grand jury weighing whether to indict Nolin in Wessner's death.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Schirmer, 28, said that he picked Nolin up between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sept. 20 from a Shaw's supermarket parking lot in Brockton, where authorities later found Wessner's bloodstained Jeep. Nolin, who served 18 years for child rape, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed Wessner that day and buried his body on a rocky shore in Woods Hole.
''Paul Nolin had called me and said that he was in a lot of trouble and he needed a ride, and if I could, come pick him up in Brockton at Shaw's Plaza,'' Schirmer said. ''He just said that he had met somebody and he ended up in Brockton. . . . He didn't know how he got there.''
''I wanted to help him, but he dragged me through this,'' Schirmer added. ''I had nothing to do with this.''
Schirmer gave his account of the links between Nolin and two priests whom authorities hope to question before the grand jury, the Rev. Bernard R. Kelly, former pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole; and the Rev. Donald A. Turlick, a licensed psychologist who counseled Nolin in prison, helped him find jobs and housing after his release, and introduced him to Kelly.
Today, Kelly is expected to appear before the grand jury for the second time as a Barnstable County Superior Court judge weighs his claim that any conversations he had with Nolin after the slaying are confidential because he was Nolin's priest. Kelly admitted to investigators that he had a sexual relationship with Nolin, a law enforcement source has said.
Through his lawyer, Robert W. Nolan, Nolin has denied a sexual relationship with Kelly.
In a closed-door hearing Thursday, Kelly's lawyer, Francis O'Boy, argued that the priest should not have to testify about anything Nolin told him after the killing, under state law and court precedent. At issue before Judge Richard Connon is whether Nolin approached Kelly for advice in a religious or spiritual context. Connon had not issued a ruling as of yesterday evening, said Cape & Islands First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny.
Yesterday, Schirmer said that he met Nolin, 39, through a mutual friend he declined to identify, and that Nolin then introduced him to both Kelly and Turlick. Schirmer said he and Nolin did maintenance work at Kelly's farm in Cummaquid, where the priest raises Morgan horses and once hosted a birthday party for Nolin.
Nolin's lawyer said his client had never mentioned Schirmer. Yesterday,
Robert Nolan also asked a Falmouth District Court judge to order prosecutors
to share police reports, witness statements, autopsy results, and any
other records supporting their case against Nolin, who has been held for
more than a month without bail in Barnstable County House of Correction.''They
haven't given us a shred of evidence,'' Nolan said before the hearing.
''Maybe they don't have the evidence.'' Assistant District Attorney Seth
Roman noted that Nolan received a copy of the now-sealed affidavit in
support of Nolin's arrest. And Glenny said authorities would turn over
reports such as DNA testing ''when they become available.'' Judge Michael
Creedon has scheduled a hearing on the evidence issue for Monday.
Bishop Accountability © 2003
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