Arrest in Anamoose priest attack

ANAMOOSE – A Minnesota man faces a trio of charges following an investigation into an incident here on January 30. Chad Legare, 42, Alexandria, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and burglary.

A joint press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and the McHenry County State’s Attorney did not specify who was the alleged victim in the incident. However, it is known that Father Robert Wapenski of the St. Francis Xavier’s Church church was assaulted on church property during the morning of Jan. 30.

Following the attack, Wapenski was treated and released from the Saint Aloisius Medical Center in Harvey for unknown injuries. He did not conduct services at St. Francis this past Sunday.

“Right now he is recuperating. We’re just taking it day by day,” said Paul Braun, communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo.

Tuesday’s press release said Legare is being held in Minnesota pending extradition proceedings to return him to North Dakota. It adds that the motive for the attack is still under investigation and that additional information will be released as it becomes available.

The Minot Daily News talked to Legare via telephone on Jan. 30, the day of the attack. When asked if he was the one who assaulted Wapenski he replied, “Your guess is as good as mine. That’s for other people to decide. I’ve never been to Anamoose.”

Investigating agencies include Minot Police and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Legare was taken into custody this past Monday.

“We’re just glad an arrest has been made and appreciate the investigation,” said Braun. “We pray for all involved.”