Priest Passes Polygraph in Slay Probe

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald [Barnstable MA]
November 5, 2003

A priest tied to accused killer Paul Nolin was forced by a judge to testify before a grand jury yesterday and has passed a lie detector test, claiming he has no knowledge of the slaying of a popular Falmouth golfer, his lawyer says.

"He passed the test," attorney Frank O'Boy said of the Rev. Bernard Kelly's recent polygraph exam.

O'Boy said the priest, who has been suspended by the Fall River diocese because of his role in the probe into the Sept. 20 murder of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner, passed a lie detector test concerning what he knows about the slaying.

According to O'Boy, the test found Kelly was truthful when he answered "no" to the question, "Did Paul Nolin ever tell you he murdered Jonathan Wessner?" He also was truthful when he answered "no" to the questions, "Did Paul Nolin ever discuss the death of Jonathan Wessner with you?" and "Did Paul Nolin tell you the location of Jonathan Wessner's body?" O'Boy said.

Nolin, a 39-year-old plumber's apprentice and convicted child rapist, faces charges he stabbed Wessner to death in a Woods Hole boathouse after a late-night party and dumped him on a rocky shore.

A judge yesterday tossed aside Kelly's claims that his conversations with Nolin were privileged and forced the 70-year-old priest to testify before a Barnstable Superior Court grand jury. The judge did, however, permit Kelly to refuse to answer some questions, ruling that some of Nolin's conversations with the priest were protected by a state law shielding statements made by defendants seeking "spiritual guidance."

Prosecutors allege Kelly and Nolin were friends and lovers. Another of Nolin's priest pals, the Rev. Donald Turlick, is expected to testify before the grand jury.

O'Boy, who has denied allegations that Kelly had a sexual relationship with Nolin, said he's unsure if District Attorney Michael O'Keefe is seeking to charge the elderly priest.


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