Former Chippewa Falls Catholic school chaplain charged with sexual assault of a child

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 5:00 PM CDT
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A former chaplain for the Notre Dame Middle and McDonell Area Catholic High Schools in Chippewa Falls is facing charges related to sexual assault of a child.​

This week, 30-year-old Father Charlie Richmond was charged in Chippewa County Court with repeated sexual assault of a child.​

He was also the Associate Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo and St. Peter the Apostle Parishes. Richmond currently lives in Viroqua.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged incidents happened between September 2016 and May 2017.​

An officer with the Chippewa Falls Police Department interviewed the victim on March 5 of this year.​

She told the officer that Father Richmond inappropriately touched her while at McDonell Area Catholic School, including touching her back, shoulders, and butt.​

The victim also said Father Richmond would have her sit on his lap and gave a lot of hugs.

In addition, she says they were in constant communication on social media apps.​

Richmond was interviewed by investigators in May, where he admitted to three to four incidents of sexual contact according to the complaint.

WEAU received a statement from the Diocese of La Crosse saying,

"On Monday, June 15, criminal charges were filed against Father Charlie Richmond in Chippewa County. The Diocese of La Crosse has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with Chippewa County and Chippewa Falls authorities. When the Diocese learned of the Chippewa Falls Police Department’s investigation of the matter, Father Richmond was immediately removed from all public ministry pending the law enforcement investigation, as well as a canonical review of the allegations. Father Richmond was ordained in 2015, and in conjunction with the Diocese’s Protect and Heal initiatives had background checks performed in 2007 and 2013, while in the seminary, and again in 2017 and 2019. Additional statements will be released by the Diocese as the case progresses and information becomes available. The Diocese continues to encourage all victims of sexual abuse to come forward to report their allegations. All the Diocese’s efforts regarding child protection can be reviewed at"

McDonell Area Catholic Schools sent a statement to WEAU saying,

"At all times, our top priority at MACS is the safety of the students. Each employee is subjected to comprehensive FBI background checks before beginning employment and Fr. Richmond passed a total of four background checks before and during his time at MACS. We hope and pray that justice will be done in this matter for all parties involved."