FARGO, N.D. - The Diocese of Fargo has responded to an accusation against Fr. Robert Wapenski from the man who is accused of attacking Wapenski in his church last month.
To bring you up to date, Father Wapenski was assaulted at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Anamoose, N.D. on Jan. 30.
Police in Alexandria, Minn., arrested 42-year-old Chad Legare Tuesday and extradited him back to North Dakota.
At his initial court appearance Thursday in Towner, N.D., Legare appeared to accuse the "John Doe" victim in the case of raping a woman.
“Unless John Doe has raped any other women, I don't think he has anything to fear from me,” said Legare.
We reached out to the Diocese for reaction. Here is their statement:
“In late December 2017, the Diocese received an online report to its website from Chad Legare expressing concern regarding an unidentified priest’s alleged inappropriate behavior with an unnamed woman. A few days later, in early January 2018, Mr. Legare spoke to Monsignor Joseph P. Goering, Vicar General, Diocese of Fargo, expressing concerns about the priest’s alleged behavior, but Legare refused to identify the priest or the woman.
“Later, Mr. Legare sent an email to the Diocese alleging the woman had been raped, but still did not provide the names of the subjects involved. The Diocese encouraged Mr. Legare to have the alleged victim report the incident or to make a report himself. The Diocese contacted Mr. Legare to follow up but he did not respond. A few days later Mr. Legare revealed for the first time that these allegations involved Father Robert Wapenski and the alleged victim.
“At that time, the Diocese again encouraged Mr. Legare to report the allegations and further encouraged him to have the alleged victim contact the Diocese. Later that same day, Mr. Legare informed the Diocese that he had contacted police. The Diocese made several attempts to contact the alleged victim. She did not respond to the Diocese’s outreach. On January 16, 2018, Mr. Legare informed the Diocese that he had, 'made a mistake with all this.'” said Legare asked that the Diocese cease attempts to contact the woman.
“On January 22, 2018, the woman denied all allegations against Fr. Wapenski to the Diocese. The attack on Fr. Wapenski occurred the morning of January 30, 2018. Upon learning of the attack, the Diocese requested the Minot Police Department to conduct a welfare check of the woman.
“As previously stated, the Diocese of Fargo continues to cooperate with law enforcement into the investigation of the assault of Father Wapenski and its surrounding circumstances. The Diocese also encourages anyone with knowledge of a crime concerning a church worker to report the crime to appropriate authorities, and we comply with all mandatory reporting laws.”
Legare faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and burglary and will be back in court Feb. 27.
We have learned more details about the assault on Wapenski after the courts unsealed a redacted version of the criminal affidavit against Legare.
In the report, investigators say they found the victim of the attack beaten and bloodied, and the assailant had attempted to strangle the victim with computer speaker wires.
The victim also told investigators they had lost consciousness during the attack.
The report also indicates that Legare had claimed the woman in question was raped over the course of 10 months.
According to the report, the woman changed her story, first denying the accusations against the priest, and then renewing them.