Accused priest faces additional felony charge in Logan County
Pfeifer was removed from active ministry on Jan. 14 pending an investigation into allegations.
JAMESTOWN — A St. James Basilica priest removed from ministry pending an investigation of inappropriate conduct is facing an additional felony charge in Logan County.
Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, was charged Monday, Feb. 6, in Southeast District Court with sexual exploitation by therapist, a Class C felony.
During an initial appearance on the felony charge Wednesday, Feb. 8, Judge Cherie Clark set bond at $5,000 for the cases in Logan and Stutsman counties, which Pfeifer has already posted, said Isaac Zimmerman, Logan County state’s attorney.
Pfeifer also faces charges of sexual exploitation by a therapist, a Class C felony, and sexual assault, a Class A misdemeanor, in Stutsman County. Pfeifer pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault and was released Friday, Feb. 3, on $5,000 cash bail.
He is being tracked electronically 24/7.
A warrant was issued in Logan County for Pfeifer on the felony charge on Feb. 6. Pfeifer was taken into custody on Tuesday, Feb. 7, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Office said it received information on Jan. 16 from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation about a possible sexual assault that occurred in Napoleon. The alleged sexual assaults occurred between March 2021 and June 2021.
The Logan County Sheriff's Office said Pfeifer was known to the adult victim and acting as a therapist when the sexual contact occurred.
A victim told investigators on Jan. 23 that the individual had oral sex with Pfeifer on two occasions from March 2021 to June 2021, according to court documents. The victim told investigators Pfeifer inappropriately touched the victim and made the victim inappropriately touch him, court documents say. Court documents say Pfeifer would ask the victim to confess their actions after the incidents were completed.
Pfeifer told investigators he was a “spiritual adviser” and admitted to kissing and inappropriately touching the victim, court documents say.
Pfeifer was removed from active ministry on Jan. 14 pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with adults, the diocese announced on that same day. Pfeifer served St. James Basilica in Jamestown, St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Buchanan and St. Mathias Catholic Church in Windsor.
Bishop John Folda with the Diocese of Fargo said the diocese will continue to cooperate with law enforcement.
"I encourage anyone with additional information to contact law enforcement officials," he said.
The investigation is ongoing. Individuals with information regarding these incidents are encouraged to contact Jamestown Police Sgt. Jason Prochnow at (701) 252-2414, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office at (701) 754-2495, Napoleon Police Department at (701) 754-2626 or NDBCI Special Agent Troy Kelly at (701) 251-2993.