Pastor Shocked by Child Sexual Abuse Allegations against Retired Priest-in-residence
By David Johnson
May 18, 2018
It was four years ago when Msgr. Ken Fiedler asked Father William Nolan to help out at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Madison.
“I invited him to come and stay in one of the houses here. Not knowing any allegations were out there. I certainly would not have if I knew anything,” Fiedler said. "Father Bill has been in residence, he's retired, for the last four years. We have three rectories and he's one of them. I have another retired priest.”
Nolan's duties were mostly sacramental.
“Which means mass every day when they can, confessions, baptisms, occasional funerals. But that's basically it. And I gave him a place to stay,” Fiedler said.
But the arrest of 64-year-old Nolan, accused of multiple counts of child sexual abuse, sent shockwaves through the close-knit church family.
“There was no inkling, this was out of the clear blue. And a lot of people are in tears, a lot of people are upset. And a lot of people, including myself, are in total shock. No one saw this one coming,” Fiedler said.
Fiedler said he can certainly understand why parents are shocked and angry over these very serious allegations. But parents can rest assured because they have programs in place to make sure kids are safe.
“No adults, not just priests, are allowed to be alone with the child,” he said. "The Diocese program that they have to go through includes videos and all the rest, lectures of proper behavior around children and reporting procedure. We do background checks for people that work for, and volunteer with, our children as well.”
Nolan was living in a house across the street from the school that is owned by the church. Church officials said he can no longer live there, but they would help him find a place until the case is resolved.