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January 2, 2020

Response to Release from Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck

We commend the Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck on finally releasing lists of priests that were in ministry in their Dioceses with substantiated allegations of sexually abusing minors. The dioceses very recently released these lists, but this information has been available to them for a very long time. In 2002, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops established the Office of Child Protection, which conducted audits of dioceses across the country. North Dakota diocese officials said at that time, the same audits would be made within the dioceses. It does not appear that the information obtained in the audits was ever made public.

This list is atypical in that it does not provide the parishes and assignments of these clergy with substantiated allegations of abusing minors. The list also does not identify where the offenders that are alive are currently residing.

Through experience, we question how many other clergy should be on the list and expect to work towards the release of any additional names.

We call on the Diocese of Fargo and Bismarck to release all of the files of the clergy that have substantiated allegations of abuse and we call on North Dakota legislators to open up the statute of limitations so that offenders can no longer be shielded from civil remedies.

CONTACT: Michael Bryant: Office (320) 259-5414; Cell: (320) 250-5585 Bradshaw & Bryant, PLLC 1505 Division Street Waite Park, MN 56387

Tim O’Keeffe: Office (701) 235-8000 Tatum O’Brien O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss 720 Main Avenue Fargo, ND 58103

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