Richard Francis Hickerson
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 had been kicked out of the priesthood after he had sexual involvement with a boy in Saskatchewan.
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. 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.
Richard Hickerson – before and after ordination, in St. Boniface, Manitoba
1954: on staff teaching at Provencher High School in St. Boniface, Manitoba. The school was an all-boys school with several Marianist priests on staff. It is thought but not confirmed that he may have taught at the schools for a years pre and post ’54. It is reported that he taught harmony to a few of the students who formed a quartet.
1961-1963: on faculty at Provencher High School, St. Boniface, Manitoba for the ’61-’62 and ’62-’63 school years. Taught Religion, English, French and History. The boys referred to him as “homo priest” because he engaged in what they viewed as inappropriate touching, such as rubbing the boys backs.
FATHER Richard Hickerson
Where and when Hickerson was ordained is in question. In fact, 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) and a Richard Hickerson s.m. at the Academie Provencher ( a Grade 1 – 12 school for boys) in St. Bonifice, Manitoba. The former, A. Hickerson, was ordained 17 July 1960. There is no date of ordination for the latter, Richard. [Note in June 2014 – I have learned that there was only one priest with the name Hickerson. Why the confusion in the directories is unknown.]
I received confirmation 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.” I have a source who tells me that Hickerson also taught at the school in the mid 50s before he pursued the priesthood.)
Richard Hickerson was definitely serving as a priest in the Diocese of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in the early 60s – he taught at Note Dame College in Prince Albert for at least some of those years. (was there and was molesting in 1963)
Father Richard Hickerson in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
– He was recognized as an “amazing” and accomplished violinist.
– taught at Notre Dame College in Prince Albert. (I had con tact with a victim who was sexually abused by Father Hickerson at Notre Dame in 1963)
– 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 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.
– When Hickerson disappeared from the diocese the word was that he had been sent back or had been called back to the seminary. In point of fact it seems he was off to the boy’s school in Manitoba.
(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.
– 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.
– I have been told that in the early ’80s there were rumours amongst employees at Canada Manpower that Hickerson had been kicked out of the priesthood. There were also rumours that he was a molester and reports from at least one employee that that Hickerson was frequently seen taking young boys to movie theaters
– During his years in Cornwall Hickerson was known to keep company with probation officers Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin, an ex priest. 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 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 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
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.
At the Cornwall Public Inquiry we learned from Detective Sergeant Jeff Carroll’s testimony that included in the confiscated material were several copies of the Body Politic, an essay entitled “When a Man of God has Sex with a Boy,” a book titled Children Who Seduce Men. “files that had to do with erotica, dirty sex, the gay creed and various articles on puberty,” a lot of porn “for the most part, were homosexually orientated,” three boxes of three-and-a-half floppy discs, a binder full of sheets containing a number of different internet addresses (porn sites no doubt), 50 boxes of slides, 85 pornographic videos of which 7 were deemed home made depicting sex acts between Lewis and Hickerson and the remainder were deemed to be commercially produced, a photo album of Polaroid pictures similar to the ones which had been cut up. Some of the pictures were missing
Pictures from Father Hickerson’s years teaching
at Provencher High School in St. Boniface, Manitoba, circa 1961-63