Richard Francis Hickerson
Marianist priest. Ordained 17 July 1960. Taught in St. Boniface Manitoba both as a Marianist Brother and as a priest. Taught at Notre Dame in Prince Albert, Sask. Left priesthood in the late 60s. Moved to Cornwall Ontario – became a Canada Manpower employee. Violin virtuoso. Paedophile. Committed suicide June 1998 after he learned he was going to be charged.
24 June 1998: Richard Hickerson obituary
Pages from 1961-63 Provencher yearbooks showing Father Richard Hickerson as staff (Saint Boniface Manitoba) (names of students pictured with Hickerson have been redacted)
20 May 2008: BLOG “Children who seduce men”!
21 May 2008: INQUIRY: Cops had to piece together pics
17 May 2008: Cop details suspected abuser’s suicide
04 October 2007: Abuse continues to haunt Marsolais
07 June 2007: Man’s abuser ‘the worst of the worst’
21 August 2007: BLOG Straight form the heart
07 June 2007: BLOG My stomach churns
My information on Richard Hickerson the priest is sketchy and, as you will see, at times a little confusing and/or intriguing. The following will be updated as I get more information and if and when some of the pressing questions are answered.
Richard Hickerson surfaced in Cornwall, Ontario around 1968. He told one of his Cornwall victims who confronted him years after the fact that he, Hickerson, had been kicked out of the priesthood after he had sexual involvement with a boy in Saskatchewan.
FATHER Richard Hickerson
Hickerson was Roman Catholic priest with an order of priests known alternately as Marianists, Marianistes or the Society of Mary. That means that his name was listed with “s.m.” after his name, the s.m. designating his order.
Prior to ordination he studied in various universities in Europe, the United States and Canada. The Marianists have a seminary – International Marianist Seminary – in Rome, Italy. Chances are high that Hickerson spent time at the International Marianist Seminary.
Hickerson, said to be a large man with thick glasses, was described as extremely literate, well educated, a violin virtuoso and a man who spoke impeccable French.
There is a little confusion and intrigue surrounding Richard Hickerson the priest when it comes to tracking his whereabouts. His name is not in the 1959 Canadian priest’s directory. In fact at that time there are no priests in Canada with the name Hickerson.
I don’t have ready access to directories from the early 60s, however both the 1967 and 1968-69 directories show an A. Hickerson at Notre dame College in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Diocese of Prince Albert) anda Richard Hickerson s.m. at the Academie Provencher ( a Grade 1 – 12 school for boys) in St. Bonifice, Manitoba. The date of ordination for Richard Hickerson is 17 July 1960. Those who knew Father Richard Hickerson in Prince Albert have no recollection of a Father Allan Hickerson. Furthermore, it was around 1968 that Richard Hickerson surfaced in Cornwall and apparently was out of the priesthood or well on his way out. (2012: since compiling this info several years ago I have learned that there was only one Father Hickerson)
Mid 50s: I have a source who tells me that Hickerson taught at Provencher College Institute in the mid 50s before he pursued the priesthood. This is confirmed by another source who tells me that Hickerson was a teaching brother with the Marianists in the mid 50s, and that, at the end of the 1956 or 1957 he left to pursue ordination as a priest. I believe that his years as a teaching brother were part of his formation years and that therefore, when he left to pursue ordination, he had but a couple of years left. It is unknown where Hickerson went in the late 50s, but it is possible if not probable that he studied at the International Marianist Seminary in Rome, Italy.
1961-62 & 1962-63 school years: I received word in 2008 that Father Richard Hickerson was teaching at Provencher School, a boy’s school in St. Boniface, Manitoba (beside Winnipeg) during 1961-1962 and 1962- 1963 school years. The boys called him “homo-priest.” He apparently was gone by 1964.
Provencher school is apparently synonymous with Provencher College Institute. I have been told also (in 2011) that Academie Provencher that Academie Provencher was demolished in 1933. Does this mean that the CCCDs incorrectly referred to Provencher College Institute as Academie Provencher? It looks that way.
PRINCE ALBERT, Saskatchewan
Richard Hickerson was definitely serving as a priest in the Diocese of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in the mid 60s and was probably at Note Dame College in Prince Albert for at least some of those years. I have asked my source in that area if there were perhaps two Father Hickersons in Prince Albert but to date can not confirm that there was any other Hickerson but Richard Hickerson serving in Prince Albert. Hickerson did have a brother named Allan, but I have yet to speak to anyone who recalls a Father A. Hickerson in Prince Albert.
Were there two Father Hickersons – brothers – in the priesthood in Canada in the 60s? Or was there one and there is an error or mix up in the directories?
Perhaps in due time we shall find out the fine points. For now what is a given is that Richard Hickerson the Marianist brother was teaching at Provencher in St. Boniface in the mid 50s, and Richard Hickerson sm, the Marianist priest, was teaching at Provencher in the early 60s. It is also fact that Father Richard Hickerson was serving in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan between 1964 and 1966. There is no indication that Hickerson was a Marianist priest when he served in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Another given is that by 1971 both names A. Hickerson and Richard have disappeared from the directories. There is not hint of either name afterwards. They are gone.
Father Richard Hickerson in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
– He was recognized as an “amazing” and accomplished violinist.
– probably taught at Notre Dame College in Prince Albert.
– Priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert. Had an apartment in the Bishop’s palace adjacent to the cathedral
– The altar boys called him “homo-hick” (paedophile was not part of their language)
– According to one source he probably molested just about every boy in the altar boy guild. That statement is amended to perhaps 10% of the 146 boys. To date none has come forward publicly.
– There were stories circulating in Prince Albert that Hickerson sexually abused one very young boy, perhaps five years of age. That incident was reported. I believe it was after this that he disappeared from the Prince Albert Diocese. It seems that this may be the incident to which Hickerson was referring when he told a Cornwall victim that he had been kicked out of the priesthood for his sexual involvement with a boy in Saskatchewan?
– When Hickerson disappeared from the Prince Albert Diocese the word was that he had been sent or called back to the seminary. I have sources who believe he was off to teach at the boy’s school in Manitoba, and another who tells me that that is impossible.
(the bishop of Prince Albert from 1959 to 1983 was Laurent Morin, a close friend of Bishop Alexander Carter one of the influential Gang of Five who mentored Bishop Adolphe Proulx. Proulx was bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria when Hickerson, by then a known molester, arrived in Cornwall, presumably as a layman)
MR. Richard Hickerson
– What and/or who took Richard Hickerson, to Cornwall, Ontario? A big question which begs an answer. At this time I don’t have it. It seems however that prior to his arrival in Cornwall Hickerson spent a year in nearby Ottawa, Ontario. What he was doing in Ottawa and who he spent the time with is unknown at this time.
And, since I first began to compile this information I have learned that Father Gaetan Deschamps, a native of the Cornwall area, served as a diocesan priest in Prince Albert and would have been serving there during Hickerson’s tenure. Did Deschamps perhaps open doors in Cornwall for Hickerson? That we will probably never know.
In the early 90s Deschamps returned to Cornwall. There were sex abuse allegations against Deschamps in 2007. Deschamps denied them. The victim did not want to go public. (Note that Deschamps spent a year in Ottawa in the late 60s. Is it possible that this was the same time that Hickerson was in Ottawa?)
– Hickerson said he arrived in Cornwall, Ontario in 1968 and that appears to be fact. The impression he conveyed was that he was no longer a priest. However since his name appears in the 1968-69 directory it is entirely possible that he was not yet “laicized” (defrocked) when he arrived. That raises the question: was he actually laicized (officially defrocked) and if so when? And, did Bishop Proulx know Hickerson before his arrival as a ‘layman’ in Cornwall and what, if anything, did Proulx know of Hickerson’s background as a paedophile?
– Hickerson’s affiliation with L’Ecole Musica, the music school operated by the Holy Cross sisters in Cornwall, seems to have begun shortly after his arrival in Cornwall. Did someone knowing of Hickerson’s musical prowess open the doors for him with the sisters? Was it Proulx? Or someone else? Who opened the doors?
– Richard Hickerson landed a job with Canada Manpower. It is unknown at this time when he got the job or who, if anyone, opened those doors.
– During his years in Cornwall Hickerson was known to keep company with two former seminarians turned probation officers, Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin.. Both were accused of sexual abusing young boys. Both committed suicide. Did Hickerson know either or both of these men prior to his arrival in Cornwall?
– At least two Cornwall-area men came forward in the late 90’s with allegations of sexual abuse against Hickerson. Hickerson acknowledged a sexual relationship with one of his victims but described it as consensual. (such sexual activity was illegal in the late 60s Consent by the victim was never a defence for the perpetrator. )
– Hickerson was confronted by one of his Cornwall victims years after the abuse. The victim was told that Hickerson was kicked out of the priesthood for having a sexual relationship with a boy – one – in Saskatchewan. Hickerson convinced his Cornwall victim to feel sorry for him and that that was in the past and he had changed his ways.
– Hickerson had a sexual relationship with James Lewis. Lewis was probably sexually abused by Hickerson. Lewis was later charged and convicted of (1) possession of kiddie porn and (2) sexual abuse. Hickerson left his estate to Lewis.
– Hickerson was heavily into pornography of all kinds, including kiddie porn and bestiality.
19 June 1998: Committed suicide (Hickerson had been told sex abuse charges were going to laid against him)
After his suicide Cornwall Police found a huge stash of porn videos and porn at Hickerson’s. It was all destroyed. This despite the fact that at that time Cornwall was rife with allegations of paedophile ring and cover-up and Project Truth was investigating those allegations . Without doubt there was invaluable evidence in the collection.