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The Helping Professions

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 10, 2003

The police are interested in a "dinner party" recently held at the home of a Cape Cod priest, according to a story in today's Boston Globe. As well they should be.

One of the guests, Paul Nolin, is charged with murdering a 20-year-old golf course worker whom he befriended the night of the Sept 20 murder. Nolin had served 18 years in prison for the kidnap and rape of a 10-year-old boy. The host of the dinner party, the Rev. Bernard Kelly, was Nolin's employer and "good friend," in the cautious parlance of their attorneys. Also in attendance was a man identified as the Rev. Donald Turlick, who not only introduced Nolin to Fr. Kelly but who had counseled Nolin and worked to effect his release from the Massachusetts Treatment Center for the Sexually Dangerous in Bridgewater. To make things yet more edifying, Nolin is said to have met his victim at a party held in the basement of the Turlick's Cape Cod home. According to a story in the Boston Herald, not everyone shared Turlick's optimism regarding Nolin:

"He was paranoid and not doing well at all,'' former inmate counselor Paula Erickson said of Paul Nolin. "He was having rape and violent fantasies. He was very hostile in the treatment center, and he clearly needed a lot more treatment." Erickson said he should not have been released from the treatment center as the Rev. Donald Turlick recommended.

Father Turlick clearly took a personal interest in Nolin that the jargon would say "crossed professional boundaries." He found him both a job and a place to stay, in addition to his introduction to Father Kelly. Of course, Turlick's friendship with Nolin had its start in unusual circumstances. The Herald says:

While in Bridgewater, Turlick used "satiation therapy" to try to treat Nolin's rape fantasies, according to a 1991 review. Satiation therapy is a behavioral technique to reduce arousal to deviant thoughts.

Well, we laymen can't be blamed for feeling somewhat uneasy at the thought of offering something called "satiation therapy" to a homosexual child rapist, and indeed the technical description of the procedure is not exactly congruent with the remedies suggested by Thomas á Kempis or Alphonsus Liguori:

Satiation therapy: Behavior therapy technique for reducing arousal to inappropriate stimuli by first masturbating to orgasm while imagining appropriate stimuli and then continuing to masturbate while fantasizing about paraphilic images after orgasm.

Turlick himself is something of a mystery. The U.S. Catholic Directory knows nothing of him, though the Providence Journal reports this:

Turlick has been on leave from the Bridgeport diocese since the late 1970s. Bridgeport Diocese spokesman Dr. Joseph McAleer said church officials have received no complaints about Turlick and taken no action against him. "He is a priest in good standing," McAleer told the Boston Herald.

Reminder: there is no connection between homosexuality and child abuse.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 10, 2003 11:30 PM ET USA

    Would you treat a pyromaniac by supervising small bonfires in his backyard under adult supervision? Would you treat a kleptomaniac by encouraging him to help himself to the cheap cutlery but steer away from the Jewelry and fine China? Would you rehabilitate a serial philanderer by encouraging him to date woman closer to his wife's age? Or paid interns instead of unpaid interns? I notice that "appropriate stimuli" is sufficiently vague to accomodate a wide range of UN approved behaviour.

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