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Fargo diocese releases list of accused abusers
More than 30 clergy, religious members named

UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, community members have identified the former Rev. Martin Cullen as having served St. John's Church and the Newman Center, Wahpeton.

The Diocese of Fargo, whose affiliated Catholic parishes include St. John’s in Wahpeton, has released a list of 31 clergy and religious members accused of sexually abusing minors.

Named individuals, according to the diocese, have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse. The list includes both ordained and non-ordained individuals, all male. Bishop John Folda, Diocese of Fargo, stated that the diocese’s files from 1950 onward were reviewed.

“I first ask forgiveness for the shameful acts of those clergy and religious who caused harm to young people and abused the trust placed in them,” Bishop Folda stated. “No excuse can be made for these actions, and I know this release of names cannot fully address the pain of victims of abuse.”

More than 1,000 files were used for a review and audit, the diocese stated. The list includes individuals involved in completed investigations. It will be updated if additional information is discovered, according to the diocese.

The individuals are as follows:

Clergy of the Diocese of Fargo with substantiated allegation(s) of sexual abuse of a minor

• William Amiott, ordained 1960, removed from ministry and clergy

• Jules Belleau, ordained 1925, deceased 1973

• Julius Binder, ordained 1939, deceased 1991

• Lucien Burque, ordained 1926, deceased 1976

• Martin Cullen, ordained 1957; removed from ministry

• Eugene Fish, ordained 1997; removed from ministry

• Kenneth Gallagher, ordained 1966, deceased 2010, removed from ministry and clergy

• C. James Jeffrey, ordained 1959, deceased 2017

• Alex Jene, ordained 1942, deceased 1971

• Zbigniew (Gregory) Patejko, ordained 1953, deceased 1996

• Cletus Rausch, a deacon, ordained 1993, removed from ministry

• John Roth, ordained 1941, deceased 1992

• Fernando Sayasaya, ordained 1995, removed from ministry and clergy, imprisoned

• Richard Sinner, ordained 1952, deceased 2004, removed from ministry, deceased

• Allan Storey, a deacon, ordained, 1988, removed from ministry and clergy

• John Tuohy, ordained 1927, deceased 1960

• George Vasques, ordained 1983, deceased 1989, removed from ministry

• John Wanzek, ordained 1950, deceased 1991

• David Wild, ordained 1953, deceased 2008, removed from ministry

Non-Fargo clergy (religious order or extern) with substantiated allegation(s) of sexual abuse of a minor while serving within the Diocese of Fargo

• Abraham Anthony, ordained 1986, deceased 2010, Diocese Simla and Chandigarh, India

• Theophane Gonnelly, ordained 1947, deceased 2005, Order of St. Benedict

• Patrick Hagarty, ordained 1941, deceased unknown, Archdiocese of Omaha

• Luke Odor, ordained 1980, unknown if deceased, Diocese Aba, Nigeria

• Laurent Picard, ordained 1969, deceased 1989, Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan, Canada

• James Reilly, ordained 1944, deceased 1990, Order of St. Benedict

• Peter Schwartz, ordained 1962, deceased 2003, Order of St. Benedict

• John (Brendan) Smyth, ordained 1951, deceased 1997, imprisoned, Order of Canons Regular Prémontré

Religious brother or sister with substantiated allegation(s) of sexual abuse of a minor while serving within the Diocese of Fargo

• Brother Raimond Rose, non-ordained, deceased 2015, Christian Brothers of the Midwest

Clergy whose served or even lived within the Diocese of Fargo who are on a list of another diocese/religious order. No known allegations while serving as a cleric within the Diocese of Fargo

• Dennis Bouche, ordained 1945, deceased 1995, Diocese of Green Bay

• Timothy Conlon, ordained 1979, Crosiers, removed from ministry and dismissed from Crosiers

• Steven Dougherty, ordained 2003, Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), removed from ministry and received a criminal conviction

No member of the clergy with a substantiated allegation of minor abuse is currently in ministry in the Diocese of Fargo, Bishop Folda stated.

“Sexual abuse of any kind, especially of a minor, is intolerable and incompatible with ministry in the church,” he continued.

The Diocese of Fargo’s website provides information about how to report ministry-related sexual misconduct.

“We will continue to follow all civil laws regarding the reporting of suspected abuse of a minor,” Folda stated. “We will also remain committed to offering assistance to all victims of sexual abuse by clergy, and I encourage victims to come forward so that we might offer our support.”

Bishop Folda’s statement, the list of individuals and a collection of frequently asked questions and answers is expected to be the only information released by the Diocese of Fargo.

“The diocese will not be making any other statements or be answering questions,” Director of Communications Paul Braun said.

Diocese of Fargo parishes include St. John’s Church and Carmel of Mary Monastery, Wahpeton; St. Anthony’s Church in Mooreton and Fairmount, North Dakota; and St. Philip’s Church, Hankinson, North Dakota.

A representative of St. John’s was unavailable for comment Thursday, Jan. 2.


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2019 to go down as wet ‘n’ cool

Living in the midwest, chances are the topic of weather comes up in nearly all conversations. The Daily News sifted through the National Weather Service (NWS) Grand Forks 2019 Weather and Climate Review to provide you with this past year’s weather talking points.

This end of the year newsletter was released on Jan. 1, 2019 and contains preliminary information. The statistics provided are used from weather gathered at the Fargo airport.

Temperature• The highest temperature of 2019 was 96 degrees Fahrenheit recorded on June 7. The coldest temperature of the year was recorded on January 30 at -33 degrees.

• According to the report, nine out of 12 months were below normal with February being significantly colder than years prior. However, there were no months of the year that broke the top 10 warmest or coldest months on record.

• The year 2019 turned out to have the coolest yearly average of temperatures in the past 10 years. However, it is not regarded to be in the top 10 for the coolest years ever for the area.

“Temperatures weren’t too much apart from normal. Nothing remarkably cold, but one to two degrees below normal for the annual temperature on average,” Meteorologist Technician of NWS Grand Forks Bill Barrett said.

Precipitation• The most precipitation fell on July 8 with 2.2 inches. Other daily records were set on March 9 with 0.9 inches, March 13 with 0.51 inches, June 22 with 1.40 inches, November 30 with 0.68 inches and December 29 with 0.67 inches.

• July experienced the highest above-normal precipitation levels with 1.93 inches above normal.

• The year is regarded to be the second wettest year of the last 10 years.

Snowfall• The most snowfall of the year occurred on March 9 with 9 inches, setting a new daily record for the area.

• The most snowfall that occurred in a single month was February with 21.4 inches. December came in second with a total of 20.4 inches of total snowfall.

• Considering the snow season crosses years, there is no true yearly calendar statistic.

“A lot of moisture for the year. (Precipitation) was probably the most notable of this year. Up and down the Red River Valley we had several heavy rain events. We had high snow events both at the beginning and the end of the year,” Barrett said.

In 2019, the months of January, February and March brought six wind chill warnings with extreme cold to the area. The average over the past ten years has been 3.6 per year. 2019 nearly doubled this average.

Eight blizzards occurred across the area. The average over ten years beginning in 2010 is 4.4 blizzards. After the years 2019 and 2018, 2019 nearly doubled that average.

According to the report, it is difficult to get blizzard conditions in the treed areas of Minnesota, However, statistics of this year and map sittings show that they can occur with steady snow and strong winds. A blizzard is defined as an event with sustained gusts of wind greater than or equal to 35 miles per hour, visibility less than or equal to one-quarter mile in snow and blowing snow for at least three hours.

Grand Forks and Fargo both experienced river flooding during the spring snowmelt. Stations at each location that measure the river’s height throughout the year both experienced a rise above the flood state in mid-July.

For more information, visit www.weather.gov/fgf.


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Elections, agriculture, impeachment: ND leaders talk

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of a four-part series previewing 2020. Previous articles included looks at Richland County school districts, the county board of commissioners’ priorities and possible changes to the Wahpeton City Council.

While they’re not in campaign mode, North Dakota’s two U.S. senators understand the 2020 elections are crucial.

The state’s lone congressman, who has not yet declared if he’ll run for re-election, is equally aware.

Daily News spoke with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D. North Dakota is one of seven states whose U.S. Congress delegation is composed entirely of Republicans.

Question topics ranged from the Nov. 3, 2020 national elections to ways North Dakota can maximize its potential in the new year and beyond.

The 2020 elections

Each election is ultimately local, Rep. Armstrong said. Should he run, it would be on a platform of limited government which benefits rural America. While the U.S. Senate has a Republican majority, Sen. Cramer said, it also is vulnerable in 2020. “We will continue to work on a pro-growth agenda for our country, built on the tax relief and reduced regulator burden we’ve already provided,” Sen. Hoeven said.

North Dakota’s biggest challenge in 2019

“Rarely, if ever, do so many things outside a farmer’s control go wrong at the same time,” Cramer said. Whether it was from a natural disaster or trade uncertainty, North Dakota’s agriculture production was often negatively impacted in the past year. Hoeven, chairman of an agriculture appropriations committee, said he worked to ensure a second round of Market Facilitation Program payments, ensure it would include all Title 1 crops and replenish the program’s funding. The White House and organizations including the United States Department of Agriculture have been unbelievably generous in receiving input, Armstrong said.

North Dakota’s biggest success of 2019

Improved health care, benefits and recognition for North Dakota’s veterans tops Hoeven’s list. The state is also benefiting from an improved U.S. economy and a reduced regulatory environment favorable to the coal and natural gas industries, Armstrong said. Cramer had similar thoughts, singling out the repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which he said was especially bad nationwide. “I hope North Dakotans can appreciate and feel good about their contribution to the rollback of some of that,” he said.

Impeachment of President Donald Trump

Armstrong opposed how impeachment procedure occurred in the U.S. House, calling it “a political drive-by.” Before 2019 ended, Cramer said he was hopeful there would not be a long, protracted trial in the U.S. Senate. Trial dates have not been scheduled as of Thursday, Jan. 2. “The American people will have the opportunity to make their own decision about the president at the ballot box,” Hoeven said.

Hoeven, first elected in 2010, would be up for re-election in 2022. Cramer, first elected in 2018, would be up for re-election in 2024. Armstrong was also first elected in 2018.

With elections approaching, look to Daily News for updated coverage of North Dakota and Minnesota’s campaigns, candidates and items under consideration.


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Montana man killed in New Year’s Eve crash identified

A Whitehall, Montana, man who was killed in a crash on Highway 9 in Wilkin County on New Year’s Eve has been identified as David Merle Mccoy, 69, Minnesota State Patrol reports.

He was driving southbound in a Chevy pickup at 6:41 p.m. Dec. 31 when he veered into oncoming traffic and crashed into a Buick Enclave carrying five people.

Mccoy died at the scene. Mccoy was not wearing a seatbelt and alcohol was involved, an investigation determined.

The five in the Buick were all taken to CHI St. Francis Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They have been identified as driver Carolyn Joyce Holecek, 58, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota; and passengers Eric Michael Francis, 34, Thief River Falls, Minnesota; Julie Marie Francis, 30, Thief River Falls; a 4-year-old child from Thief River Falls; and David William Holecek, 61, Thief River Falls.


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4 Things To Know Today

1. This Day in History: In 1959, Alaska was admitted as the 49th state.

2. Today’s Birthdays: Mel Gibson (1956-), actor/director; Michael Schumacher (1969-), race car driver; Danica McKellar (1975-), actress; Eli Manning (1981-), football player; Greta Thunberg (2003-), activist.

3. Sunday, Jan. 5 Indoor Activities: Open Gym at Wahpeton Middle School, 12-2 p.m. for grades 1-5, 2-4 p.m. for grades 6-8, 4-6 p.m. for grades 9-12 and 6-8 p.m. for Adults. Youth Archery Program starts, 1-5 p.m., Wahpeton Community Center. Wahpeton Special Olympics Basketball Program starts, 5 p.m., Community Center. Indoor public skating, 7-9 p.m., Stern Arena.

4. Student Art Show: Red Door Art Gallery is hosting a student art show from Jan. 7-Feb. 1 featuring artwork by Wahpeton and Breckenridge high schools.


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Bringing in 2020 in London time

Breckenridge Family Community Center held its “British New Year” party on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. Rather than children and families having to stay up until midnight to celebrate the new year, the community took their imagination to London.

“It was such a fun time. They all loved the idea of having something for the family to do that still allowed them to have time at home for the rest of the evening,” Mandy Steinberger, director of the community center, said.

Midnight in London is 6 p.m. in the Twin Towns. So just before the clock struck midnight in London those at the community center gathered, with punch-filled champagne flutes and noisemakers, to count down as they watched the live stream firework show in London.

“We rigged up this balloon drop and all of the kids wanted to pile under it so that the balloons could fall fight onto them,” Steinberger said. “It was pretty funny.”

Approximately 50 people attended this event to participate in coloring, crafts, sledding, skating and playing games such as Santa cornhole, Christmas tree bowling and reindeer ring toss before it was time to count down and release the balloons.

The community center had punch for the toasting and hot cocoa to stay warm. Four different types of cookies were donated by the area farmer’s market.

“They (cookies) were amazing and they were just phenomenal,” Steinberger said.

In other community center news, January movie night is featuring “The Lion King” and will be held from 3:30-6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3 at the center. Treat bags, prizes and popcorn will be supplied by the center, pizza and pop will be available for purchase.


Holly Anderson is a student in Jennifer Shockley’s second grade class at St. John’s School.