An arrest of a former district judge in Northern Kentucky on a human trafficking charge has shocked the community.
Police arrested former Campbell County District Judge Tim Nolan on charges of human trafficking and unlawful transaction with a minor, according to court documents and a release from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Nolan, 70, who has been outspoken in conservative politics and the tea party movement in recent years, was elected to the Campbell County School Board in November. He was also the chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign in Campbell County.
Court documents don’t give much detail about the incident or incidents that led to the charges. Authorities allege in the criminal complaint Nolan in August 2016 induced a minor into illegal sexual activity and gave alcohol to the minor. It doesn’t say how old the victim was.
Campbell County Police had served a search warrant on Nolan’s property in southern Campbell County in February. The case presents a tricky situation for the legal community due to Nolan’s past as a Campbell County District Judge in the 1970s and 1980s. His daughter, Taunya Nolan Jack, is the Campbell County Circuit Court Clerk.
To avoid conflict of interests, a special judge from out of the area, District Court Elizabeth Chandler from Carroll County, is presiding over the case and all court documents are being filed in Boone County. The attorney general’s office is prosecuting.
Nolan was released on $50,000 bond and placed on home confinement with an ankle monitor on Friday. What action the Campbell County School Board will take wasn’t clear.
Chairwoman Janis Winbigler referred all questions to the district office. Superintendent David Rust did not immediately return calls for comment.
“We’re just learning about this,” Winbigler said Friday. “The board is immensely troubled by this.”
Connie Pohlgeers, director of school improvement, released a statement saying the district hasn’t determined the next step.
“We are immensely troubled and saddened to hear of the arrest of Mr. Nolan and grieve as a district for those impacted,” the release stated.
The arrest has some veteran lawyers and judges scratching their heads. Nolan served as a district judge in Campbell County in the 1970s and 1980s. Retired family court judge Mickey Foellger at the time worked as an attorney in the Campbell County attorney’s office. Nolan had a reputation as being a strict judge that “leaned to the tougher” side of sentencing, Foellger said.
“I can’t imagine what he did,” Foellger said. “I don’t want to speculate. It’s mind-boggling that he would be with an underage girl.”
After leaving the bench in the mid-1980s, Nolan became a controversial figure in local politics. He became a fixture at Campbell County Fiscal Court meetings challenging many decisions, sometimes by filing suit. He filed suit in 2008 challenging the location of county offices in Newport. He lost that challenge.
Some accused him of racism. A website started by some local Republicans, including former local school board member Mike Combs, started a website, GOPFacts.org, called Nolan, “one of Campbell County’s most vehement racists.” Nolan responded to those accusations with a defamation suit. That suit is still pending.
Nolan is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on May 5.