Former North Dakota governor’s brother on list of clergy accused of sexually abusing children

Grand Forks Herald and Forum News Service

January 3, 2020

By April Baumgarten

Fargo – The brother of former North Dakota Gov. George A. Sinner has been named in a list of Fargo Diocese officials who were accused of sexually abusing children — a revelation that “absolutely stunned” his family, one relative said.

Catholic leaders released on Thursday, Jan. 2, the Fargo Diocese’s list of 31 clergy and religious brothers who the diocese believes were credibly accused. On that list was the late Rev. Richard W. Sinner, who was ordained in 1952 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo. He was 78 years old when he died Jan. 28, 2004.

Former North Dakota Sen. George B. Sinner, a Fargo Democrat who is the late Gov. Sinner’s son and the Rev. Sinner’s nephew, said he first heard about his uncle’s inclusion on the list through news reports.

“I’ve talked to several of my family members, and it’s all the same way. Nobody knew anything,” George B. Sinner said. “We were never told anything about any accusations whatsoever.”

A Fargo Diocese spokesperson did not return messages for questions regarding the Rev. Sinner. The list doesn’t disclose the details of the allegations against the Rev. Sinner or other clergy.

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