Victim Assistance

If you or someone you know has been sexually exploited by a member of the clergy, a church worker, or volunteer and you need to talk confidentially with someone about your feeling of betrayal or hurt due to sexual abuse, exploitation, or harassment, we are sorry for what you have experienced and want to help bring about healing.

Ministry related sexual misconduct refers to three forms of behavior:

  • Abuse: sexual conduct between a church worker and a minor or vulnerable adult
  • Exploitation: sexual conduct between a church worker and an adult who is receiving pastoral care from the church worker
  • Sexual harassment: unwelcome sexual conduct between a church worker and employees, volunteers, or parishioners

We will help you obtain support by providing information regarding:

  • Diocesan assistance
  • Counseling/therapy
  • Spiritual direction

We Are Respectfully Open to Your Complaint

Both justice and compassion call us to respond to any harm you or someone you may know has experienced from a person in a position of trust. We want to listen and address any hurt that may have occurred.

We recognize that bringing a misconduct complaint to the Diocese can be a frightening prospect. We are here to assist you with the process. We will proceed at the pace that you set, respecting your need to determine when, how, and where you wish to speak.

We have found that the process works best when the person bringing the complaint has the support of a friend or other knowledgeable person, such as an advisor. You may request someone to accompany you at any stage of the process.

Report an Incident

There are two ways to report an incident:

Call

Call Victim Assistance at (701) 356-7965.

Write

Write Victim Assistance at:

Diocese of Fargo
5201 Bishops Blvd. S., Ste. B
Fargo, ND 58104-7605

Mark your letter "Personal and Confidential".

We will also help you bring your concerns to church officials outside the Diocese of Fargo if the abuse, exploitation, or harassment occurred elsewhere and you now reside in the Diocese of Fargo.

If you are unsure about bringing a complaint or would like further information, please contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator at the address or phone number above, or send an email to victimassistance(at)fargodiocese(dot)org.

Our Pledge to You, From the U.S. Bishops

It is with reliance on prayer and penance that we renew the pledges which we made in the original Charter:

  • We pledge most solemnly to one another and to you, God’s people, that we will work to our utmost for the protection of children and youth.
  • We pledge that we will devote to this goal the resources and personnel necessary to accomplish it.
  • We pledge that we will do our best to ordain to the priesthood and put into positions of trust only those who share this commitment to protecting children and youth.
  • We pledge that we will work toward healing and reconciliation for those sexually abused by clerics.

- Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Revised June 2005

Diocesan Policy for Reporting Sexual Abuse

The Diocese of Fargo is committed to the protection of youth. Please report any incidents or suspected incidents of child abuse, including sexual abuse, to civil authorities. If the situation involves a member of the clergy or a religious order, a seminarian, or an employee of a Catholic school, parish, the diocesan offices or other Catholic entity within the diocese, we ask that you also report the incident or suspected incident to Msgr. Joseph Goering, vicar general, at (701) 356-7945 or Larry Bernhardt, victim assistance coordinator, at (701) 356-7965 or by email at victimassistance(at)fargodiocese(dot)org.