Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Newark Priest Resigns from Active Ministry

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Newark Priest Resigns from Active Ministry

Article excerpt

The Newark, N.J., priest accused of violating a court-negotiated agreement to stay away from children removed himself from active ministry in early May.

"For the good of the Church and for my peace, I have requested permission to leave public exercise of my priestly ministry," Fr. Michael Fugee said in a May 2 letter to Newark Archbishop John Myers, who granted the request the same day. The priest also relinquished his position as co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests. Though still a priest, Fugee, 52, can no longer minister publicly or present himself as a priest, nor wear clerical clothing.

The resignation came four days after the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Fugee had been in contact with children at parishes in neighboring dioceses through youth retreats and trips.

Such actions would appear in violation of a memorandum of understanding the priest signed in 2007, along with the Bergen Prosecutor's Office, his lawyer and Newark's vicar general, that bars him from-any unsupervised contact with or to supervise or minister to any child/minor under the age of 18 or work in any position in which children are involved."

The prosecutor's office has reopened its investigation of Fugee.

The memorandum he signed resulted after an appeals court overturned a jury verdict that he had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy on separate occasions in 1999 and 2000. The appeals judge threw out the five-year probation sentence after ruling part of Fugee's deposition, which included his confession to the act, should have been withheld from jurors. The memorandum avoided a retrial.

The fallout from the Fugee scandal reached farther than the priest himself, however. At St. Mary's Parish in Colts Neck, N.J., part of the Trenton diocese where Fugee had occasionally ministered in the past several years, three additional resignations followed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.