WI--Fort Atkinson priest expected to enter plea on six counts of felony child sexual assault

Fort Atkinson priest expected to enter plea on six counts of felony child sexual assault

Initially denied by the diocese of Madison, Fr. William Nolan also had a 2009 prior report of misconduct

CONTACT: Peter Isely, SNAP founding member, 414.429.7259/[email protected]

WHO:  Survivors of clergy sexual abuse will be in court Thursday as Fr. William Nolan, age 64, a priest of the diocese of Madison, is arraigned on six counts of felony sexual assault of a child where he is expected to enter a plea on the charges.

WHAT:  Fr. William Nolan, was charged last month on six felony counts of sexually assaulting a child from ages 13-16 while a priest at St. Joseph Parish in Fort Atkinson from 2006 to 2014. 

In 2007, at age 53, Nolan was listed as “retired priest in residence” by the diocese of Madison. The retirement age for a priest in the Madison diocese is age 70.  Nolan continued to minister in various parishes in the diocese.  Although the diocese has said there were no prior complaints of misconduct against Nolan a young adult allegedly went to the diocese after a 2009 incident. 

In the current case under prosecution, the first alleged sexual assault occurred after the youngster was serving as an altar boy for a funeral at which Nolan was presiding.  According to the prosecutor, Nolan had approximately 100 incidents of sexual contact with the victim over the next three year period.  The assaults are reported to have taken place in Nolan’s office, home, the church sacristy and other locations in the community. 


Nolan has worked in parishes in Madison, Waterford, Cambridge, and Janesville along with Fort Atkinson.  Nolan’s last known residence was Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison.  The diocese has not released where he is currently residing. 

In 2005, Nolan testified in court on behalf a fellow priest, Fr. Gerald Vosen, in a defamation suit against one of Vosen's victims. Vosen at the time had been removed from ministry for substantiated reports of child sex abuse that were outside the criminal statute of limitations. Nolan and Vosen were working and living together at a parish during the time of the assaults. The jury found in favor of the victim. Vosen has since been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican. 

WHEN:  Thursday, July 12, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Jefferson County Courthouse, Branch 2, Room 229, 311 S. Center Ave, Jefferson, WI

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant