Priest Accused of Abuse in Fargo Sent to Corpus Christi

A North Dakota priest was just named publicly as an alleged abuser. He was ordained in a religious order based out of Corpus Christi, TX and apparently sent back there after the abuse was reported to church officials in Fargo. Despite this, he has not been named on any list of accused priests nor was the local community alerted to his presence. We are calling on church officials in Texas to explain why.

According to the West Fargo Pioneer, Fr. Michael Wright is alleged to have assaulted a vulnerable adult at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Belcourt, ND. According to the woman’s attorneys, following the receipt of the allegations church officials in the Diocese of Fargo sent Fr. Wright back to Corpus Christi, TX for “counseling,” although they apparently did so without notifying communities in either Belcourt or Corpus Christi why the reassignment occurred.

We cannot help but consider that church officials in this case failed in their responsibility and promise to be “open and honest” in cases of clergy abuse.The lack of public disclosure from the Diocese of Corpus Christi is especially egregious given that their list of “credibly” accused priests was released earlier this year, and the society into which Fr. Wright was ordained is also headquartered in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

If Fr. Wright was sent to Corpus Christi specifically for “counseling” because of the allegations of abuse, why was he not added to the list of abusers? Bishop Michael Mulvey should immediately add Fr. Wright to his list or explain why he has not done so. Bishop Mulvey and the Provincial of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity should also both take steps to provide the public with Fr. Wright’s full work history, as well as do outreach in every community where he worked.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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