July 14 – JAMESTOWN – The Diocese of Fargo said in a statement Thursday night July 13 that it will continue to investigate the actions of a former Jamestown priest.
Neil Joseph Pfeifer, 48 or 49, was given a suspended sentence if he performs 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty to sexual assault, a Class A misdemeanor, on Thursday, July 13, before Jamestown Southeast District Court.
Pfeifer, who currently resides in Rugby, North Dakota, pleaded part of a plea deal that included the dismissal of a charge of sexual exploitation by a therapist, a Class C felony.
Pfeifer was charged with having sexual contact with another person while having reasonable grounds to believe the contact is offensive to the other person.
Judge Cherie Clark sentenced Pfeifer to 360 days in Stutsman County Correctional Center with credit for one day served and all but 10 days suspended. Additionally, the remaining nine days would be suspended if Pfeifer completes 50 hours of community service by September 15. Pfeifer was also ordered to pay $325 in court costs and placed on three years of unsupervised probation.
Pfeifer was originally charged in February in Stutsman County. He was also charged with a similar crime in Logan County, but that charge was dismissed when Judge James Hovey ruled in April that there was not enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
“Father Pfeifer’s dismissal from priestly ministry continues to be in effect,” the diocese said. “The diocese also continues to pursue this matter within Church processes as defined by canon law.”
The diocese said it will continue to pray for those who have been hurt by Pfeifer’s actions and remains committed to helping all victims of sexual misconduct by providing spiritual assistance and other support.
“Sexual misconduct is unacceptable and contrary to our faith and life in Christ,” the diocese said.
The diocese said it first learned of the allegations involving a Stutsman County woman on Dec. 22. The diocese said it has never received any reports or complaints that Pfeifer had sexual contact with anyone.
“Following this report, the diocese immediately launched an investigation, meeting with both the adult woman and the Reverend Pfeifer,” the diocese said. “Bishop Folda also imposed restrictions on the ministry of Reverend Pfeifer, which came into effect on December 23, 2022.”
Anyone with information or concerns regarding Pfeifer or the misconduct of anyone associated with the Diocese of Fargo should contact Bishop Joseph Goering at the Diocese of Fargo at (701) 356-7945 or the Victim Assistance Coordinator at