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North Dakota dioceses release list of accused clergy members

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Roman Catholic dioceses on Thursday released a list of 53 clergy members who have had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Bishop John Folda of the Fargo Diocese said in a statement that the list is the result of a “thorough review” of files dating back to 1950. Bishop David Kagan of Bismarck said there have been no substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor that have occurred after 1989.

The list includes 31 people in the Fargo Diocese and 22 in Bismarck. Some of them were not ordained in North Dakota but served in the state at some point.

“While one claim is one too many, the Church acknowledges her brokenness because of the action of a few and recognizes our responsibility for healing and reconciliation,” Kagan said in a statement on the diocese website.

Officials with the Fargo Diocese, which has about 70,000 members, and the Bismarck Diocese, which has about 62,000 parishioners, have balked at releasing lists in the past, saying they were worried about privacy concerns for employees.

“It is my hope that this release of names will open the way to a purification of our Church, especially our own diocese,” Folda said in his statement.

The list of priests from the Fargo Diocese includes the Rev. Richard Sinner, the bother of former North Dakota Gov. George Sinner. Richard Sinner, who died in 2004, was ordained in 1952 and eventually removed from the ministry, according to the diocese. George Sinner died in 2018.