Former Fargo, West Fargo Catholic Priest Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

Fernando Sayasaya is charged with molesting two underage brothers from 1995 to 1998. Three more victims have come forward since then.

FARGO, N.D. — 53–year–old Fernando Sayasaya, a former Fargo area Catholic priest in the metro, is sentenced to 20 years in prison for molesting boys.

It’s a day investigators on Sayasaya’s case say they can’t believe is finally here.

“It took a lot of work to get to this point and at times, I thought it probably isn’t going to work. But you keep persevering and you’re taught that early on in law enforcement. You keep plugging away because it’s not about law enforcement or us. It’s about the victims,” said Lt. Greg Warren, with the West Fargo Police Department.

Those victims include two underage brothers Sayasaya molested between 1995 to 1998.

The Fargo Archdiocese then removed him from the church.

Sayasaya was a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo and Blessed Sacrament in West Fargo.

Before he could be charged, he fled to the Philippines around Christmas of 1998.

He was found and arrested there last November and extradited to Fargo in December.

He’ll now spend 20 years in jail for his crimes.

“Were this a modern day crime, were this have happened today, we would’ve been able to get twice that on him but this is the most we could get on him and so I will say that I’m happy with the maximum sentence,” said Cass County Asst. State’s Attorney Ryan Younggren.

Three more victims came forward in the case but Younggren says the state will not be filing charges since Sayasaya took a plea deal for the maximum sentence.

“I’d just like to say I am regretfully sorry from the bottom of my heart if I caused pain to the victims,” Sayasaya said.

It’s an apology almost two decades after they were abused but Lt. Warren says it’s nothing new.

“It’s a hell of a time to apologize. He had said those words a few times that he was sorry for what he did but he didn’t think he could stop doing what he was doing,” Lt. Warren said.

Now that Sayasaya will serve his time, Lt. Warren can start making some long–awaited phone calls to all the victims.

“We’ll call them all and talk to them and tell them what happened today and really hope they can move on. Some of them are still going through counseling and things like that so I think it’ll be a happy day for them too. I don’t know if there’s ever complete closure with what happened but they had their day today,” Lt. Warren said.

Once he has served his time, Sayasaya will have to register as a sex offender.

Categories: Community, Crime, Local News, North Dakota News