Church Accused of Stonewalling in Priest Sex Case

Associated Press
March 20, 2002

Keene, NH - The state's Roman Catholic Diocese waited more than eight years to release the name of a priest accused of molesting a girl in Keene and stonewalled the accuser for a month before making the name public, according to a newspaper report.

In February, the diocese released the names of 14 priests accused of misconduct with minors. The Rev. John Nolin's name was not on the list.

His name was not made public until March 15, a month after the first 14 names were released.

Nolin's permission to function as a priest was revoked in 1994, shortly after the victim, now a woman in her 40s who lives in Keene, told the diocese of the abuse in the 1960s and 1970s.

The diocese said it turned over Nolin's name to authorities as soon as it discovered it had failed to do so due to oversight.

But the woman and her family maintain the diocese stalled for a month before releasing Nolin's name, The Keene Sentinel reported.

"We had a dialogue with the attorney general, not with the news media," diocesan spokesman Patrick McGee told the newspaper. "When we realized there was an error, we corrected it with the person with whom we had an agreement."

The diocese would not comment on the specifics of Nolin's case, other than to reiterate information already released.

Nolin did not return messages left on his telephone answering machine.

In 1951, Nolin graduated from Keene High School, where he was active in sports and clubs. He was named best-dressed male student and next to his picture the yearbook lists his favorite song as "You Can Depend on Me."

In 1994, diocesan officials told the accuser there was nothing they could do about her claims because there wasn't enough evidence to take action.

But diocesan officials believed the allegations to be credible, and that's why Nolin's priestly duties were revoked, McGee said.


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