Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48, a Catholic priest in Napoleon, North Dakota, sexually assaulted a woman in his care. He was originally charged with sexual assault by a therapist, a felony, but was allowed to plead down to a misdemeanor. He will perform 50 hours of community work and serve no time in jail.
Judge Cherie Clark sentenced Pfeifer to 360 days in the Stutsman County Correctional Center with credit for one day served and all but 10 days suspended. In addition, the nine remaining days would be suspended if Pfeifer performs 50 hours of community service by Sept. 15. Pfeifer was also ordered to pay $325 in court fees and placed on three years of unsupervised probation.
Pfeifer was arrested in February after a woman claimed she was assaulted by him while under his spiritual care. In May, another sexual exploitation case against Pfeifer was dismissed bya judge in Logan County, who determined that Pfeifer’s sexual contact did not occur “during any treatment, consultation, interview or examination” after his attorney argued that the law did not apply to priests because they do not peform psychotherapy. In the original complaint there, writes April Baumgarten, Pfeifer “asked the woman to confess their acts after the sex.”
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