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REGIONAL BRIEFS: FBI, bomb squad in Montevideo

Credit Forum News Service

North Dakota

Settlement reached in abuse suit against diocese

DICKINSON, N.D. -- A civil suit brought against the Diocese of Bismarck by a man who claimed a priest with North Dakota ties sexually abused him has been settled.

Both parties involved in case, filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii, agreed to settlement terms last month, triggering a court-ordered dismissal of the case Friday.

Colorado resident Steven Crochet, 46, who agreed to waive his anonymity as the plaintiff during an interview in January, accused the Rev. Maurice G. McNeely of forcing Crochet -- then a preteen -- to perform oral sex on him at a U.S. Army base in Hawaii in the mid-1970s.

Both Crochet's attorney, Florida-based Adam Horowitz, and diocese spokesman Matthew Kurtz declined to disclose terms of the financial settlement when contacted Friday.

"The matter has been resolved," Kurtz stated in an email. "Out of respect for the privacy of the plaintiff, the Diocese of Bismarck has no comment at this time."

Horowitz has said McNeely spent time between 1950 and 1980 at Catholic parishes or schools in Minot, Mandan, Parshall and Marmarth. He said there was no admission of guilt in the settlement, which he said was not uncommon in civil suits that are resolved.

McNeely, who has never been criminally charged, is in his 80s and living in Michigan, and served as the headmaster of Hawaii Family Catholic Academy in Honolulu from 1987 through 2001, according to Horowitz.


Mercedes crashes through jail's front doors

FARGO -- The Cass County Sheriff's Office will likely install bollards or planters as a barrier in front of the county jail after a 50-year-old man crashed a car through the facility's front doors Friday, the second such incident in recent years.

Capt. Judy Tollefson, who oversees the jail, said the driver of the Mercedes came to the jail for his court-ordered, twice daily breathalyzer test as part of the 24/7 sobriety program, "and somehow ended up in our foyer."

Authorities were still investigating what led to the crash, which had no witnesses.

Fargo police identified the driver as Thomas S. Siavash, 59, of Fargo. He was cited for reckless driving and driving under suspension, both Class B misdemeanors punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, Deputy Police Chief Pat Claus said.

Siavash's driver's license was originally suspended after an arrest for driving under the influence in Fargo on Feb. 26, Claus said. Alcohol wasn't believed to be a contributing factor in Friday's crash, and there was no evidence to suggest it was an intentional act, he said.

Siavash was taken by ambulance to a hospital to be checked out. It's unclear whether he was injured, but Fargo Deputy Police Chief Dave Todd said Siavash was awake at the hospital.


Two 'persons of interest' in death of Spirit Lake man

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Two men in custody on unrelated charges are "persons of interest" in the death this week of a man at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, officials said Friday.

Kyle Loven, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis, identified the dead man as Dustin Jackson. TV news reports citing information from family members said he was 38 and that his badly beaten body had been found by a passer-by in a reservation ditch.

Loven said one of the persons of interest, Clifford Monteith, is in tribal custody.

Tim Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said Elmer Flying Horse is being held on a federal warrant, also on an unrelated charge.

The officials said they could provide no further details Friday, but Loven said the investigation remains active.


Grass fire burns 100 acres

SPIRITWOOD, N.D. -- A grass fire burned about 100 acres about five miles northwest of Spiritwood on Friday afternoon.

"This time of year, we'd like to recommend (people) just not burn until things green up," said Rick Woehl, fire chief of the Jamestown Rural Fire Department.

However, if people are going to burn, they should be sure to have a plowed fire break around the area being burned, Woehl advised.

The rural fire department was called at 2:54 p.m., and sent five trucks and 13 people to put it out. The blaze had started on one farm and spread south to a neighbor's land, burning corn stubble, bean stubble and pasture land.

"There's an individual that was burning earlier this morning, and he thought everything was out, but apparently the wind picked up a little bit this afternoon to where it fanned it enough, to where it took off and got going in the grass," Woehl said Friday.



FBI, bomb squad in Montevideo

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. -- FBI agents and a Bloomington Police Department bomb squad were at a mobile home Friday in Northdale Park in Montevideo, but officials had little information to release, saying details of the situation were still confidential.

Kyle Loven, Minneapolis media coordinator with the FBI in Brooklyn Center, confirmed the FBI's presence in Montevideo on Friday.

"There is no danger to the public," he said.

No further information could be released Friday, he said. "We're just not at a stage where we're able to share any details."

The FBI may have more information by early next week, he said.

Several witnesses reported seeing the law enforcement activity Friday at the mobile home park. The Montevideo American-News website posted video footage and photographs, shot from a distance, of officers clustered around one of the trailers. According to the website, two people appeared to be taken into custody.


Kibble Equipment, Mankato Implement merging

BIRD ISLAND, Minn. -- Kibble Equipment and Mankato Implement are merging, the companies announced Thursday.

They will become Kibble Equipment. The new direction unites two organizations born from two brothers with the same philosophy.

"The scale, territory and resources will allow us to provide the highest level of customer support, while providing the vehicle for sustainable growth for our customers' future and our own. Our farming customers will have the same team they have always counted on, with access to additional resources," said a statement from Butch Kibble, vice president of Kibble Equipment Inc., and Steve Kibble, vice president of Mankato Implement.

KEI will be one of the largest John Deere dealer groups in the U.S. and Canada, providing agricultural equipment, parts and service.

KEI has locations in Albert Lea, Bird Island, Blue Earth, Kiester, Mankato, Minnesota Lake, Montevideo, New Ulm, Nicollet, Redwood Falls, Sleepy Eye and Wabasso.