Ex-judge sentenced to 20 years for human trafficking

Ex-judge sentenced to 20 years for human trafficking
Timothy Nolan at a court appearance in 2017 (FOX19 NOW)

Ex-judge Tim Nolan will serve 20 years in prison for human trafficking and other sex crimes.

He'll be eligible for parole in four years.

Judge Kathleen Lape sentenced the prominent Northern Kentucky conservative political activist on Friday after an emotional day in court. Letters from some of Nolan's 19 victims read in court described in graphic detail how Nolan manipulated women for sex and the pain and destruction that resulted.

"Tim Nolan, I want to say, you ruined my life," one teenage victim wrote in her letter. "You ruined my childhood teenage years and made me lose hope. I hate you."

Nolan, 72, pleaded guilty in February to human trafficking charges and unlawful transactions with a minor.

Lape summed the case up at the start of Friday's proceedings.

"This has been one of oddest cases I've ever seen," she told Nolan.

The case has garnered national attention for more than a year. Nolan, a former district judge in Campbell County, had been a well-known conservative activist. His brash style made him one of the more visible campaigners for President Trump in Northern Kentucky, though since his arrest many in the campaign publicly questioned his claim of heading the campaign in Campbell County.

Nolan would hang out at a local woman's shelter and volunteer at drug court to meet women addicted to opioids, said Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley, the special prosecutor in the case.

Whaley read more than a dozen statements from Nolan's victims.

Nolan coerced women, seven of which were under 18, into sex acts, Whaley said. All but two of the 19 victims were addicted to heroin or other opioids. He plied many with drugs and threatened to take them away if they didn't comply with his sexual demands.

"I went jail after jail after jail to talk to these vulnerable victims and learn what it means to be dope sick," Whaley told the judge on Friday. "It's five or six times worse than the worst flu, body ache, that you will do anything to get another hit."

He used threats to call law enforcement and use his connections in the justice system as a former judge.

"Tim Nolan knew vulnerability when he saw it," one of the victims wrote in her impact statement. "He used my addiction as a tactic for control."

Nolan read a statement in court where he asked for forgiveness from God, his victims and his family.

He asked for probation and said he could still contribute to society.

"I'm so sorry for my crimes, even though I'm a first offender with a low-risk to re-offend," Nolan said.

Nolan promised to get treatment.

"I resolve to fight my demons and addictions and not repeat my immoral behavior," Nolan said. "Obviously the lack of sound judgment and yielding to physical impulse must never be repeated."

Since Nolan pleaded guilty in February, the case had grown weirder.

In a wild court hearing in March, Nolan fired his attorney, tried to withdraw his guilty plea, accused the judge's family of having a vendetta against him, asked the judge to recuse herself, then asked to represent himself.

Nolan's sentencing on Friday put an end to a very trying case. The prosecutor had a response to Nolan's quoting the Bible in his plea for leniency.

"Jesus forgave the thieves who were beside him on the crosses," Whaley said. "Forgiveness is always available to those who ask, but Jesus did not recall the punishment of those thieves. Their punishment was imposed."