The Madison Diocese has found sexual misconduct allegations made against a retired Catholic priest in Jefferson County are not credible.
William Nolan, who formerly presided over a Fort Atkinson parish, will return to his previous status as a retired priest “in good standing,” according to a statement from the diocese. This comes after the church’s own investigation into two separate allegations made against Nolan and his weeklong trial in September in which he was acquitted by a Jefferson County jury.
Bishop Donald Hying said Nolan, 66, is owed “the presumption of innocence and right to a good name,” especially after his acquittal and the lack of evidence found in support of the allegations against him. Nolan will be allowed to minister publicly as a priest again, the diocese said.
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The Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board began its investigation after the jury acquitted Nolan of charges surrounding one of the allegations claiming he sexually abused an altar boy from 2006 to 2011 in Fort Atkinson.
The other allegation, which the review board also looked into, involved a single incident with a 21-year-old man in 2012, the diocese said. Both claims were made public in May 2018, and Nolan had been on leave since. He has been officially retired since 2007.
The review board decided unanimously there is no credibility for either of the allegations made against Nolan after finding “significant inconsistencies, including impossibilities involving timing and location in one of the allegations.”
The church’s investigation involved several interviews, police and church files and other materials collected from the trial, the diocese said.
Nolan will not have any parish assignment as per the norm for retired priests in the Madison Diocese, and he said he will not seek “any public ministry in a parish setting,” the diocese said.
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