Priest accused of sex abuse cleared by Madison Diocese
By Frank Schultz
March 07, 2020
|William A. Nolan|
The Catholic Diocese of Madison has deemed allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. William A. Nolan not credible.
Nolan served in several southern Wisconsin parishes.
“In the coming days, Fr. Nolan will be reinstated to his previous status as a retired priest of the Diocese of Madison in good standing,” according to a news release from diocese communications director Brent M. King.
Nolan, 66, will be able to minister publicly as a priest but in accordance with “the norm for retired priests in the Diocese of Madison, he will not have any parish assignment,” the release states.
Nolan has decided not to “undertake any public ministry in a parish setting,” according to the release.
The release emphasizes that Nolan has deserved a presumption of innocence since the allegations were made and states Nolan deserves the “right to a good name.”
Two allegations of sexual misconduct against Nolan were made public in May 2018.
One involved a man who claimed abuse from the time he was 12 or 13 years old until he was 17, the release states.
This appears to be the concluded case in Jefferson County Court involving an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson.
The second allegation corresponds to allegations Janesville police investigated in 2015 and reinvestigated in 2018 involving an alleged 2012 incident in Janesville, when Nolan worked at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Beloit.
Police found no basis for further investigation, and no charges were filed.
The Jefferson County District Attorney charged Nolan with six counts of sexual assault of a child in the case of the altar boy, and Nolan pleaded not guilty.
A judge dismissed one of the six counts, and a jury found Nolan not guilty of the remaining counts in September.
The church’s “canonical investigation” into the allegations began after the court process ended, according to the release.
The diocesan investigator collected materials from the criminal trial, police files and diocesan files and conducted its own interviews, according to the release.
The investigator presented all the materials to the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board on Jan. 7 and Feb. 18.
The board comprises five lay experts from the judicial, psychological and law enforcement fields and one diocesan priest.
The materials were presented separately to Bishop Donald Hying with the board’s unanimous finding of “no credible basis for either of the allegations brought against Fr. Nolan,” the release states.