Former Fort Atkinson priest has day in court

July 14, 2018

JEFFERSON -- A former Fort Atkinson priest facing six counts of felony second-degree sexual assault of a child on Thursday stood mute and had pleas of not guilty entered on his behalf in the Jefferson County Branch II Circuit Court of Judge William Hue.

A pretrial conference was set for Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. and a jury trial could take place Nov. 26 at 8:15 a.m.

The former Fort Atkinson priest, William Nolan, now of Madison, is facing the charges in the Jefferson County Circuit Courts with the alleged offenses dating to between Feb. 1, 2006, and 2010.

In an interview with the Fort Atkinson Police Department, the complainant who brought the allegations forward identified himself as a male with a date of birth in 1992.

″(The complainant in the matter) stated that he was a former student of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in the City of Fort Atkinson from first grade until eighth grade (2006-2007),” a criminal complaint stated. “The complainant identified the defendant as the priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church during the time frame he was a student in the school and altar boy at the church. The complainant states that the sexual assaults started between himself and ‘Father Bill’ Nolan when the complainant was 13 years old and a student in the school. The complainant told (an investigator) that he disclosed to Father Bill that he was gay and that Father Bill told him that it would be okay.”

The complainant said he reported that the sexual encounters between himself and Nolan occurred at least 100 times over the course of four to five years.

“He (the complainant) would regularly serve at mass or serve funerals and he would see Father Bill with regularity,” the complaint stated. “Their sexual encounters would occur at Father Bill’s office in the church, Father Bill’s house, the altar boy room in the church, and other places in the community. During his middle school years, it was almost a weekly occurrence. During high school, it did not happen as often. The complainant stated that he could provide some dates and times over the years where he recalled what took place between the two of them.”

The complainant, the report acknowledges, would have been, at the youngest, age 13 when the assaults began.

As conditions of his $50,000 signature bond, Nolan may commit no acts or threats of violence. He may not leave the state of Wisconsin or have any contact with children under the age of 18. He may have no presence at St. Joseph’s Church and School in the city of Fort Atkinson and no contact with the complainant.

Each of the six offenses carries with it a penalty of up to $100,000 in fines and 40 years in prison.

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