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Southern Ill. alderman accused of jail escape bid

MURPHYSBORO – Prosecutors say a southern Illinois alderman attacked guards last month during a failed attempt to escape from jail, where he was being held on sexual abuse and kidnapping charges in the alleged abduction of a woman.

Jackson County prosecutors charged Ronald Nolan, of Murphysboro, with attempted escape, aggravated battery and resisting a peace officer as part of the Oct. 10 breakout bid that authorities say broke a guard's finger and involved Nolan hitting another guard's genitals.

Nolan, 46, was being held in the lockup on $100,000 bond related to charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Authorities say those counts, to which Nolan has pleaded not guilty, relate to Nolan's driving around Jackson and Union counties in September with a 20-year-old Carbondale woman against her will.

A message left Tuesday with Nolan's attorney, Christian Baril, was not immediately returned.

Nolan, who was elected in April to a four-year term as a Murphysboro alderman, will face no efforts to oust him from that governing body as long as he awaits trial, Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said. Nolan will continue to be paid $200 per month for that role.

"We're withholding judgment until the conclusion of a trial," Stephens told the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan.

Some Murphysboro residents have expressed shock over Nolan's legal troubles.

"It really don't seem like he would do that," Mary Campbell told WSIL-TV. "He's like a church-going person. I've known him as Pastor Nolan, like his brother, you know."

Nolan's preliminary hearing on the latest charges has been scheduled for Nov. 21, his trial on the abduction-related counts for Dec. 17.

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