State report on child sex abuse by priests paints sobering picture

Bismarck Tribune

February 20, 2021

By Travis Svihovec

In the late 1960s or early ’70s, the Rev. Armour Roberts drove three boys from Bismarck to New Leipzig to visit another priest, the Rev. John Owens.

The men mixed cocktails for the boys, and the boys — high school freshmen — drank until they were drunk. One passed out and later awoke with Owens standing over him, partially naked and inappropriately touching him. Owens had already molested another boy. Roberts was in an upstairs room with the third boy.

The boys ran. They bought coffee at a gas station and thought about driving back to Bismarck. But they knew nobody would believe what had happened to them. They’d just get in trouble for stealing a car. They went back to the parish house and spent the rest of the night in the living room. The priests offered one of them a Playboy magazine and tried to convince him to go upstairs with them.

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