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As former North Dakota teacher faces sex crime charges, her husband, a pastor, is on leave

Shannon Moser appears in Cass County District Court through interactive television during her arraignment on Tuesday, July 24. David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO – As police followed tips that Shannon Moser, a West Fargo middle school teacher, was sharing illicit videos with students, including some of her and her husband having sex, she resigned from her post on July 12.

A day later, Moser’s husband, Brett, was placed on administrative leave from his job as a preacher at River City Church in Fargo.

A week after that, Moser was charged in Cass County District Court with two counts of using a minor in a sexual performance, Class A felonies, and one count of sexual assault, a Class C felony, on Friday, July 20.

Moser, 37, of Moorhead, made her first court appearance Tuesday, July 24, by video conferencing, and her bail was set at $30,000.

Prosecutors recommended bail be set at $250,000. However, her attorney Scott Brand requested bail be set at $30,000, arguing that Moser has no prior record and that she is deeply connected to the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Brand said Moser was recently in Montana visiting family, and she was aware that charges were pending against her, yet she returned to North Dakota. “She could have fled then,” Brand said.

Judge Douglas Herman agreed Moser was not a likely flight risk and set bail at $30,000, with the conditions that she have no contact with the two victims and stay off of social media. She will be allowed to travel to Minnesota, because she is a Moorhead resident, and to Montana, where her family lives.

River City Church, where her husband Brett Moser was a pastor, released a statement on its website regarding the case on Monday, July 23, the same day Shannon Moser was booked into the Cass County Jail.

“It is with great grief that we make this statement to our community, the media, and our church family,” church officials wrote. “The charges filed against Shannon Moser are serious and deeply disturbing. The acts outlined in the charges are a tragic betrayal of the character of a disciple of Jesus Christ. We do not know what will happen next in regards to the legal timeline. We do know that this is a devastating reality for the victims and their families, for the Moser family, for this community that we love, and for the people of River City Church.”

According to the statement, the church elders met with Shannon and Brett Moser on Friday, July 13, and at that time, “It was agreed that Brett would be on administrative leave, effective immediately.”

River City Church has two Fargo locations, 323 Main Ave. and 5258 51st Ave. S.

“As a religious organization, River City Church does not have the investigative tools available to law enforcement agencies,” the church said. “Nor can River City Church substitute for the courts in adjudicating legal claims. We have faith in the judicial system to determine the truth of these charges and the severity of the consequences.”

After receiving an anonymous tip in June, West Fargo police began investigating claims that Shannon Moser was sharing nude Snapchat images with a 16-year-old student, according to court documents.

The student said Moser then asked him to meet and the two met in Rendezvous Park in West Fargo and drove west of town where they had sex along a gravel road, court documents stated.

A second student, who’s now 15 years old, told police in July that Moser had shared illicit photos and videos with him over Snapchat for about a year, starting when he was 14 years old. Some of the videos showed her having sex with her husband, court documents stated.

The second boy told police he never had any physical contact with Moser, but said she had asked to meet him in person, court documents stated.

Before resigning, Moser had been a science teacher at Liberty Middle School since fall 2016.

An improvement plan was placed in her teaching file during the 2017-18 school year regarding her classroom conduct after staff and students reported inappropriate conduct. Staff noticed Moser’s interactions with male students and questioned whether she was crossing student-teacher relationship boundaries.

According to school district documents dated April 26, Moser had met the expectations of her improvement plan and her contract was recommended for renewal.

Moser’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 23.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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