Accuser takes stand in child sexual assault trial of priest

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JEFFERSON (WKOW) — The accuser in the child sex assault case of a priest took the stand Tuesday, telling the jury that he was excited about becoming an altar boy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson back when he was in fourth or fifth grade.

The priest, William Nolan, is facing six counts of child sexual assault in the trial that began Monday at the Jefferson County courthouse.

The 26-year old accuser testified he knew as early as sixth grade he was gay, and was drawn to the good-looking, energetic priest he knew as Father Bill.

The witness testified his first sexual encounter with Nolan was when the priest took the middle schooler to his home in February 2006.

He testified over several years, he and Nolan had mutual, oral sex on many occasions.

“At least a hundred,”  the accuser testified.

“We met weekly, more than once on several occasions.  Whether it was a Boy Scout meeting, or I was a (altar) server at a funeral, or a regular Mass on a Saturday night, it happened,”  he said.

The accuser testified he decided to contact Fort Atkinson police years later after watching the film on Boston’s priest sex abuse scandal, Spotlight.  He testified he was concerned Nolan could have had contact with other children who may have been traumatized by the experience.

The witness said he’s an aspiring actor in Los Angeles.

“It’s exciting for you to be in front of a camera,”  Nolan’s attorney Jonas Bednarek asked the man during cross examination.  “Sure,” he responded.

But the accuser said there was a limit to his interest in being on camera when Bednarek referenced several news cameras in the courtroom.  “Not these ones,”  the witness said.

During the cross examination from Bednarek, the accuser conceded he retracted a claim he had mutual, oral sex with Nolan during a cross country team practice;  he also conceded he retracted a claim of mutual, oral sex with Nolan during his high school era ski trip to Tyrol Basin.

The witness insisted his recollection of sexual encounters with Nolan were accurate, but said his memory from so long ago was spotty on certain details, such as dates and the chronology of the alleged sex assaults.

The accuser spent more than four hours on the witness stand and testified he took pains as a middle school student to avoid detection with his liaisons with the priest.

“It’s a secret,”  he said of his alleged history with Nolan.  “So I would be discreet.”

Bednarek has yet to reveal whether Nolan will take the witness stand in his own defense.

Tony Galli

Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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