Troubles Plague Fargo Diocese

Grand Forks Herald
March 23, 2002

The Catholic Diocese of Fargo announced over the past month that three priests from the diocese face allegations of sexual abuse of children.

The Rev. Charles Fischer told counselors and church officials last month he had committed sexual misconduct with several children, including some while he was a priest in Drayton, N.D., and Pembina, N.D., from 1995 to 2000.

Church officials say they relieved Fischer of his duties, turned the information over to social service and law enforcement agencies, and contacted the families of the children Fischer named as victims. The investigation will not be complete for some time, authorities said.

In the wake of the Fischer story, diocesan officials said two former priests in the diocese had been accused of sexually abusing young people since 1998.

The Rev. Abraham Anthony, a native of India, was charged in April 2000 in Stutsman County with gross sexual imposition, sexual assault and disorderly conduct involving two boys, and sexual harassment of a third boy. Anthony returned to India before police could question him.

About three years ago, three teen-age boys accused the Rev. Fernando Sayasaya, a native of the Philippines, of molesting them while he was an associate priest in West Fargo.

Sayasaya apparently returned to the Philippines before police could question him, a West Fargo police investigator said.

International police have been contacted about the two priests overseas.


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