Accuser says he didn’t want to get retired Catholic priest ‘in trouble’ by reporting sexual abuse

A man who says a Catholic priest sexually abused him when he was a teenager took the stand Tuesday in the second day of the now-retired cleric’s sexual assault trial.

The accuser, now 26, alleges that William Nolan sexually assaulted him more than 100 times over a span of four years starting in 2006 when the alleged victim was in middle school. At the time of the alleged incidents, the accuser said he was an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Church in Fort Atkinson and Nolan was the priest.

He testified that he never “never felt like a victim” because he was often the one who instigated the sexual encounters with Nolan.

“Part of me did feel guilty for doing it because … I also sought it out, so I felt bad for getting a man in trouble who I do not hate or did not dislike. I felt bad and had a hard time calling the police knowing that it would put him in very serious trouble,” the accuser said in Jefferson County court Tuesday.

It’s Day 2 in the trial of a retired Fort Atkinson priest, who is accused of sexually assaulting a former altar boy more than 100 times while he was a minor. The alleged victim is testifying in Jefferson County court today. #news3now

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) September 10, 2019

Nolan’s lawyer, Jonas Bednarek, aimed to poke holes in the accuser’s arguments during cross examination. He described multiple incidents in which he believed the details of the accuser’s story changed, including a sexual encounter on a school ski trip.

“At one point you told Detective (Lisa) Hefty it occurred after (Nolan) took you out to dinner at Denny’s in Janesville after the ski trip? Yes?” Bednarek asked.

“Yes,” the accuser replied.

“At one point you told Detective Hefty that it occurred in his office before you went on the ski trip that day? Is that a yes?” Bednarek asked.

“Yes,” the accuser replied.

The accuser testified that sex acts happened at multiple locations at the church, at Nolan’s home (a rectory owned by the church) and even in public places.

He said watching the movie “Spotlight” inspired him to call the Fort Atkinson Police Department to report the sexual assault allegations. He said not knowing whether he was the only alleged victim was the reason he decided to come forward.

“Once I saw the film, I kind of realized that most of the people in these situations don’t have the same effect that it had on me. I’m not terrorized by it. I’m not having nightmares by it because of the nature of our relationship. It wasn’t forced,” the accuser testified.

The alleged victim’s mother and father also testified Tuesday, along with two employees of St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

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