Retired Madison Priest Faces Sexual Assault Charges in Jefferson County

By Shelley K. Mesch
Madison State Journal
May 17, 2018

A retired Madison priest has been charged with sexually assaulting a child during his tenure at a Fort Atkinson church.

Bill Nolan, 64, faces six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child, according to court records, and made his initial court appearance through a video conference from Jefferson County Jail.

Nolan is a retired priest in residence at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, parish officials told parishioners in an email Thursday.

Judge Jennifer Weston set bail at $50,000 with the stipulation that Nolan not leave the state, have no contact with any children under the age of 18, no presence at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and no contact with the accuser, court documents show.

Nolan served as a priest at St. Joseph’s from 2002 to 2007, when he asked for an early retirement, according to the Diocese of Madison.

According to the criminal complaint, a man contacted police on April 18 to report a continuous sexual relationship with Nolan from 2006 to 2010, when he was between the ages of 13 through 16.

The man’s name and initials were not included in the complaint to maintain privacy. He is now 25 years old.

He said the first sexual encounter occurred in winter 2006 after he served as an altar boy at a funeral presided over by Nolan, according to the complaint. Nolan offered the boy a ride home, and they stopped at Nolan’s home for a tour of the house.

“While in the house, Father Bill asked the complainant if he liked hugs and kisses,” the complaint stated. “Father Bill kissed the complainant on the mouth and they kissed mouth to mouth.”

Nolan and the boy then engaged in sexual activity at the priest’s home. Nolan told the boy not to tell anyone about the encounter.

The man reported that he was assaulted by Nolan at least 100 times during those years. He said the encounters would happen in Nolan’s office, the altar boy room and other places in the community.

Other encounters occurred after the two would sneak away from runs with the cross-country running team, Boy Scout events and on a bus ride to a skiing trip to Tyrol Basin.

The man told police he and Nolan never engaged in sexual intercourse because “Father Bill wanted to wait until the complainant was 18 years old,” the complaint stated.

The man told police he had never felt forced to engage in sexual acts with Nolan and that he wasn’t traumatized by the events. He said he decided to report the incidents after recently questioning if he had been the only child assaulted by Nolan.

The diocese said it did not know about the allegations before police arrested Nolan and had received no misconduct allegations connected to Nolan at any of his assignments at other parishes.

The diocese said Nolan will be excluded from exercising “priestly ministry” during the legal process, and the allegations will be investigated by the diocese and the Sexual Abuse Review Board.









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