Rev. Richard W. Nichols

Summary of Case: Nichols was accused of having sexually abused at least four boys, some of whom were altar servers under his watch. In addition to being a priest, Nichols was a child psychologist. At least one victim was abused during counseling. Nichols admitted the abuse. He was allowed to continue in restricted ministry after two boys came forward in 1980, and continued his psychology practice. He surrendered his psychologists' license in 1985. He was "absent on leave" from 1982 until 1994, then "retired" until his death in 1996.

: 1958
Retired: 1994
Died: July 25, 1996


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Milwaukee archbishop was William Edward Cousins (1958-1977)

1962 St. Thomas Aquinas Waterford WI 2/2 Parish had a school with 377-424 students.
1962 1964 St. Lawrence's Milwaukee WI 2/2, 2/3 Parish had a school with 354-349 students.
1964 1966 SS. Peter and Paul (German)


In 2009 a man publicly disclosed for the first time that he had been raped by Nichols in 1966 when he was 13 year-old altar server at SS. Peter and Paul. The man said he told his parents after it happened, but that they felt they couldn't challenge the Church. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 6, 2009)

WI 3/3 Parish had an elementary school with 549-522 students and a junior high-9th grade-with 40-31 students.
1966 1966 St. Catherine's Milwaukee WI   This assignment is per the Milwaukee archdiocese.
1966 1971 St. Mary's Academy Milwaukee WI   This was a high school for girls.
1971 1974 St. Sebastian's Milwaukee WI

4/4, 3/4

In residence.

Parish had a school with 779-654 students.


Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. replaced Cousins (1977-2002)

1979 St. Aloysius

West Allis

In 1980 two boys who had been altar servers at St. Aloysius disclosed to their parents that Nichols had molested them. The parents told the pastor, who told them to have the boys write to the archbishop. Weakland wrote back, asking if they could forgive Nichols. The pastor urged the families not to take the allegations further. (Journal Sentinel Online
April 13, 2002) One of the former altar boys disclosed in 2002 that the abuse included rape, and that it started in 1974. He also said two other boys had told him that they, too, had been abused by Nichols. (Journal Sentinel Online
July 10, 2003)



In residence.

Parish had a school with 398-345 students.


  1985 Child Psychologist

West Allis

In 1983 a boy reported to the state licensing board that he had been sexually abused by Nichols as a patient in Nichols' office in November 1978. Nichols admitted the abuse in a September 1984 deposition. (Journal Sentinel Online
April 13, 2002)

1979 1981 Other Assignments/Visitation Convent Elm Grove WI  

This was a convent for the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Weakland said Nichols was pulled from many priestly duties after allegations of child sexual abuse, but was allowed to say mass for the sisters.

Nichols continued work as a child psychologist at a West Allis clinic, in his office at S. 108th St.

1981 1982 Other Assignments West Allis WI   Address given is 2230 S. 108th St., West Allis.
1982 1985 Absent on Leave Milwaukee WI    


Madison bishop was Cletus Francis O'Donnell (1967-1992), followed by William Henry Bullock (1993-2003)

1994 Absent on Leave Neshkoro WI   A February 1985 Milwaukee Journal article reported the allegation by the patient abused in Nichols' office in 1978. The archdiocese announced a few days later that they would investigate Nichols. Nichols surrendered his license to practice child psychology and moved to Neshkoro WI.
1994 1996 Retired Neshkoro WI   Address was R.R. 1, Box 2581 Neshkoro.


Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. was Milwaukee archbishop (1977-2002)

  Retired New Berlin WI  

Nichols was diagnosed with cancer and moved in 1996 to a New Berlin condominium.

He died July 25, 1996.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1959-1997)

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Nichols' career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on March 23, 2012