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The Latest: Affidavit unsealed in priest attack case

TOWNER, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on the case of a Minnesota man accused of attacking and trying to kill a priest in North Dakota. (all times local):

4 p.m.

Newly unsealed court documents show a Minnesota man charged with attacking a priest in North Dakota believed the priest had sexually assaulted the man’s girlfriend.

But police say the woman’s story changed when she was interviewed, first denying rape allegations before later renewing them. The Catholic Diocese of Fargo is standing by the priest, saying the woman denied rape allegations to diocese officials.

Forty-two-year-old Chad Legare of Alexandria, Minnesota, is accused of assaulting Rev. Robert Wapenski Jan. 30 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Anamoose.

An affidavit from a state crime bureau agent says Legare forwarded texts to police from his girlfriend saying she had been raped. The affidavit, which redacts the name of the person she accused, says the woman later changed her story.

Wapenski did not respond to phone messages Friday.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Josh Frey says actions of the woman and priest are “an open and active investigation.”

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8:50 a.m.

A Minnesota man charged with attacking a priest in North Dakota accused the reverend during a bond hearing of raping a woman, an allegation the Catholic Diocese of Fargo says has no merit.

Forty-two-year-old Chad Legare of Alexandria, Minnesota, is accused of assaulting Rev. Robert Wapenski Jan. 30 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Anamoose. Authorities haven’t discussed a motive.

KXMC-TV reports Legare appeared in court Thursday on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and burglary. A judge set bond at $250,000. Legare during the hearing made a reference to the priest being a rapist.

Diocese officials said in a statement they’d been informed of Legare’s allegations and reached out to the alleged victim, and the woman denied the allegations.

The county sheriff and state’s attorney declined comment.

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