Assignment Record – Rev. John P. Nickas

Summary of Case: A Newark parish priest, Nickas was known as a progressive who served the poor and homeless. He founded several shelters, a childrens' center, a day care and an alternative high school. In the 2000s two men came forward separately with accusations that Nickas sexually abused them as young boys in the 1970s. One of the men said he was abused for two years, beginning when he was an 8 year-old altar boy, and that Nickas plied him with altar wine and threatened to harm his family if he told. The other accuser said his abuse occurred while he lived at one of Nickas' homeless shelters, and included incidents in a car while Nickas cruised the streets in search of young male prostitutes. The Archdiocesan Review Board deemed the accusations to be not credible, yet the archdiocese settled with one of the accusers in May 2013.

: 1966
Incardinated: Newark archdiocese
Retired: 2005
Died: Oct. 9, 2008


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes
1966 1967 Blessed Sacrament Franklin Lakes NJ   This assignment is per Nickas' obituary.


Newark archbishop was Thomas Aloysius Boland (1952-1974).

1969 St. Patrick's Pro-Cathedral Newark NJ 4/6, 3/5 St. Patrick's had a school with 97-120 boys and 101-112 girls.
1969 1972 St. Rocco's (Italian)


In May 2013 Nickas was accused publicly of having sexually abused an altar boy at St. Rocco's from 1970-1972, beginning when the boy was 8 years-old. Nickas' accuser said the priest plied him with altar wine before sexually assaulting him in the the church and in the rectory. He also said that Nickas threatened to hurt his family and that he would be punished by God if he told anyone about the abuse.

NJ 2/3, 3/3; In residence 1971-1972.

St. Rocco's had a school with 138-135 boys and 148-129 girls.

The Archdiocesan Review Board, which was appointed by Archbishop John Myers, deemed the allegations to be not credible, yet the archdiocese settled with his accuser.


Boland was succeeded as Newark archbishop by Peter Leo Gerety (1974-1986).

1977 St. Ann's Newark NJ 2/2, 3/4, 2/3; In residence. St. Ann's had a school with 240-293 students. The 1976 and 1977 Directories show St. Ann's Bilingual Learning Center, The Learning Experience Alternate High School, with 35 students, and St. Ann's Community Day Care Center with 82 children.


Gerety was replaced by Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1986-2000).

1997 St. Rocco's


NIckas was accused publicly in May 2013 of having sexually abused a homeless boy in the 1970s at a shelter the priest founded. This accuser said the abuse occured at the shelter, at a parish rooming house, in St. Rocco's church and in a car while Nickas drove around looking for young male prostitutes.

NJ 1/1

St. Rocco's had a school with 210-453 student. The Directories show a Youth Residence Community Outreach Center 1982-1983, and an Adult Residence Community Outreach Center 1983-1987. The parish also had a Children's Center (preschool - K), with 40-45 children.

St. Rocco's merged sometime later with St. Ann's to become the Parish of the Transfiguration.


John Joseph Myers succeeded McCarrick (2001-).

2004 St. Peter Claver's Montclair NJ 1/1; 2 deacons. St. Peter Claver's had a catechism program with 105 students.
2004 2005         Nickas is not indexed in the 2005 Directory.
2005 2008 Retired Caldwell NJ  

Nickas lived at the Rev. Msgr. James F. Kelley Residence for Retired Priests.

Nickas died October 9, 2008.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1967-2008)

Reverend John P. Nickas , The Star Ledger, Oct.18, 2008
Newark Archdiocese Reaches New Settlement in Decades-Old Case of Alleged Sexual Abuse, By Mark Mueller, The Star-Ledger, May 15, 2013

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 Nickas's 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 June 7, 2013