Federal charges filed in destruction of historic Fort Berthold church

BISMARK, ND (KFYR) - A 22-year-old man faces federal charges in connection with a fire that destroyed a nearly-century-old church on the Fort Berthold Reservation in April.

According to federal court records, a grand jury has charged Rode Vocu with setting fire to the Elbowoods Memorial Congregational Church near White Shield.

Investigators say Vocu set fire to the church on the morning of April 22. By the time crews were able to arrive on scene, the roof had already collapsed.

The church, built in 1926, was a total loss.

Vocu made his initial appearance Thursday. He’ll stand trial in U.S. District Court in Bismarck Aug. 5.