Former West Fargo Priest Still On The Run

By Ashley Bishop
Valley News Live
November 19, 2014

[with video]

Those involved with the justice system in North Dakota continue to look for a former West Fargo priest, who faces two charges of allegedly touching 11 and 14-year-old boys. Former West Fargo priest Fernando Sayasaya fled the country after the allegations came out more than 15 years ago.

The sexual abuse charges against Fernando Sayasaya were filed in December of 2002. This was five years after he started serving at Blessed Sacrament Church in West Fargo. He is believed to have fled the United States in 1998.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick says they have an idea where Sayasay is.

"We believe him to be in the Philippines and there is an extradition treaty with the Philippines," said Burdick. 

Burdick says his office has taken the actions needed to extradite Sayasaya. The federal government is now in charge of finding the former priest and Burdick is playing the waiting game.

"We're waiting to hear that he has been found and he can be extradited back and in the control of authorities. As far as we know that has not happened. When they locate him they will notify us," said Burdick.

Burdick says he gets updated about Sayasaya search periodically; his last update was in September.

The international group SNAP, which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest says the dioceses need to do more.

"The catholic officials in North Dakota and the Phillipines should be using all of their political clout and resources to push law enforcement to get Father Sayasaya back to face justice," said SNAP executive director David Clohessy.

Valley News Live reached out to the Fargo diocese to see what they are doing to try to bring Sayasaya back. We are waiting on their response.


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