Priest Refuses to Testify in Cape Killing

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald [Barnstable MA]
November 1, 2003

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.

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."


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