Complaint: Madison priest-in-residence assaulted Fort Atkinson altar boy more than 100 times
FORT ATKINSON, Wis. — A retired priest in residence at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison is facing felony counts after he allegedly sexually assaulted a boy in Fort Atkinson for years, according to documents filed in court Thursday.
William A. Nolan, 64, of Madison, was charged in Jefferson County court Thursday with six felony counts of second-sexual assault of a child under 16 years old.
Nolan appeared in court via teleconference. The judge ordered a $50,000 signature bond. As conditions of bond, Nolan was ordered not to leave Wisconsin, can’t have contact with any children under 18, cannot be at St. Joseph Church or school in Fort Atkinson and can’t have contact with the victim.
According to the criminal complaint, more than 100 assaults took place between February 2006 and the summer of 2010, when the boy was 13 to 17 years old.
The now-25-year-old victim reported the alleged incidents to police in April. He told police he was a student of St. Joseph Catholic School in Fort Atkinson and an altar boy for the church when the alleged incidents took place.
The first assault happened after the boy served at a funeral in the winter of 2006, according to the complaint. After the funeral, Nolan offered the boy a ride home. On the way, they stopped at Nolan’s house, and Nolan asked him if he liked hugs and kisses. He then brought the boy to his bedroom where he assaulted him.
The sexual encounters took place at Nolan’s office in the church, his house, the altar boy room in the church, at Dorothy Carnes Park and other places in the community, the complaint said.
When he was in middle school, the assaults took place with almost a weekly frequency and when he was in high school, it didn’t happen as often, the complaint said. The assaults all involved oral sex, as Nolan told the boy once that he wanted to wait until he was 18 before engaging in other sexual acts.
In a statement to parishioners Thursday afternoon, Our Lady Queen of Peace Pastor Ken Fiedler addressed the serious charges, saying parish leaders are “following the proceedings as they are made known and will work at the direction of the Diocese of Madison in resolution of this matter.”
“First and foremost we are innocent until proven guilty,” said Fiedler. “So let’s not condemn the person at the moment, but at the same time I think we have to be forgiving and merciful, but we want justice.”
Fiedler said about four years ago he asked Nolan to move into the rectory across the street from the parish and K4-8th grade school to help with sacramental and daily mass.
Fiedler said if there was any indication Nolan was being accused of misconduct, he would not have allowed him to serve in the parish.
“Let’s just say that we’re all in shock. This came out of the clear blue for all of us. We have people in tears in this parish,” Fiedler said.
— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) May 17, 2018
The Diocese of Madison has placed Nolan on administrative leave, which means Nolan is excluded “from any exercise of priestly ministry while the matter is pending.” The diocese said it has begun its own process of investigating allegations, and the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board is also involved.
The Jefferson Daily Union reported that Nolan served as priest at St. Joseph in Fort Atkinson from 2002 to 2007.
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