FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) The Richland County State’s Attorney Office today announced that no criminal charges will be filed against Father Thomas Feltman, Pastor of St. John the Baptist’s Catholic Church in Wyndmere and St. Arnold’s Catholic Church in Milnor.
Paul Braun the Director of Communications for Diocese of Fargo says, “When Father Feltman was told of concerns regarding his interactions with children, he reported the matter to the Diocese of Fargo and Bishop John Folda immediately placed him on administrative leave from his priestly duties pending the outcome of the investigation. Father Feltman was then under investigation by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.”
In a release, Braun goes on to say, “Father Feltman will remain on administrative leave until an internal investigation by the Diocese is completed. Upon completion of the internal review, Bishop Folda will determine any future ministry assignments that best benefit the parishes, parishioners, and Fr. Feltman.”
“This has been a difficult time for the individuals who reported their concerns, for the parishioners of these parishes, and for Fr. Feltman,” says Braun.
Bishop Folda says, “I want to assure everyone that the safety of our children and families is—and will remain – a priority for the Diocese of Fargo. I ask you to keep in your prayers everyone who may be affected by this matter and our Church.”
The Diocese of Fargo will continue to offer pastoral support for all involved.
Bruce Quick, of the Vogel Law Firm in Fargo is the lawyer for Father Feltman.
Quick says, “The Richland County State’s Attorney’s Office will not be bringing criminal charges against Father Feltman for the incident reported in Wyndmere, ND in May of 2017. It was reported that as Father Feltman would go to hug the girls, Father Feltman hand would touch them on the side of their breast or on their butt. Although this made the girls feel uncomfortable and this touching was socially inappropriate, there is no evidence that the touching was done by Father Feltman for sexual reasons which would be necessary in order to prove an element of a sex offense crime. The State’s Attorney’s Office, by way of their prosecutorial discretion, declines to charge Father Feltman with any crime based on this evidence.”