New Bishop Appointed in Fargo, SNAP Responds
By Barbara Dorris
April 8, 2013
As Fargo, ND prepares for a new bishop, we hope that Bishop John Folda will be a better advocate for clergy sex abuse victims than his predecessor was.
Fargo catholic officials have acted poorly in the past on clergy sex crimes. For example, in 2009, it was revealed that three monsignors, after receiving a credible accusation of abuse, refused to share the information with anyone outside the diocesan hierarchy. The diocese first heard the accusation against Fr. Gregory Patejko in 1994, and paid a settlement to the Patejko’s victim that same year. Yet it wasn’t until 15 years later that the allegation was made public, and even then only because the victim grew tired of the diocese’s silence and went to the media himself.
Catholic officials’ silence in this matter only served to help the Diocese of Fargo avoid public embarrassment, and actually worked against victims by allowing others who may have been abused by Patejko to continue suffering in silence. We don’t know how many other allegations may have been kept under wraps in the same way, but we suspect that this was not the only case.
We hope that Bishop Folda will reverse the hurtful trend of his predecessors and instead tackle sex crimes against children head on, and do everything in his power to keep his congregation informed. One action he can take to immediately make ND kids safer would be to post a list of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website. We hope Bishop Folda will take this advice to heart.