Man says not guilty in drug-fueled naked display at North Dakota Catholic church

Man says not guilty in drug-fueled naked display at North Dakota Catholic church

Man says not guilty in drug-fueled naked display at North Dakota Catholic church

This photo provided by the Morton County (N.D.) Sheriff's Office shows Zachary Burdick. Burdick, who police say was high on drugs when he stripped naked and climbed into the holy water font during Mass at a church in Mandan, pleaded not guilty Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, to an indecent exposure charge. (Credit: Morton County Sheriff's Office via AP.)

A man who police say was high on drugs when he stripped naked and climbed into the baptismal font during Mass at a North Dakota church has pleaded not guilty to an indecent exposure charge.

MANDAN, North Dakota — A man who police say was high on drugs when he stripped naked and climbed into the baptismal font during Mass at a North Dakota church has pleaded not guilty to an indecent exposure charge.

Authorities say 21-year-old Zachary Burdick was asked to leave the Spirit of Life Catholic Church in Mandan on Oct. 9 because he was trying to bless congregants with a Book of Mormon.

He later returned, took off his clothes, climbed into the baptismal fountain then walked down the aisle performing a lewd act in front of the congregation of about 70 people. A group of preschool children were in the church for an education program, but are not believed to have seen the incident.

At the time of his arrest, police said he had ingested methamphetamine.

KFYR-TV reports that Burdick pleaded not guilty Monday to felony indecent exposure and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. A trial date has not been set.

The television station reported that documents showed the church estimates the cost of the cleaning of the fountain to be approximately $500. The priest told police they have to clean and sanitize the fountain, before re-blessing it for liturgical use.

The felony charge against him carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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