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Newark Archdiocese Elevates Priest Who Admitted Groping 14 Year Old Boy 12 Years Ago – Why is He Still a Priest? [POLL]

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, NJ -Youtube
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, NJ – Youtube

Question: Can a priest, who admitted to groping a 14 year old boy on 2 separate occasions, and was allowed to enter a Pre Trial Intervention program for first time offenders, still be allowed to remain a priest?

According to the Archdiocese of Newark, not only does he remain a priest, but he gets elevated to a lofty administrative position to boot. An administrative position where he will have no contact with children…which is part of his sentence.

Here’s the deal:

Father Michael Fugee allegedly grabbed the crotch of a 14 year old boy back in 2001 while grappling with him at the teen’s home and while on vacation in Williamsburg.

According to this:

At the time, he had been serving as assistant pastor at the Church of St. Elizabeth in Wyckoff when authorities charged him in 2001 with aggravated criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. He allegedly grabbed the crotch of a 14-year-old boy while wrestling with him at the teen’s home and on a vacation in Williamsburg, Va.

Under questioning by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Wyckoff police, Fugee admitted touching the teen, saying he did it intentionally, that it sexually excited him and that he knew it was a “violation,” according to a transcript of his statement. He later recanted, claiming he lied so he could go home earlier.

In 2003, a jury in Bergen County convicted him of the sexual contact count but acquitted him of the endangering charge. Sentenced to five years’ probation, Fugee appealed. Three years later, an appellate panel overturned the verdict on the grounds that the trial judge gave improper instructions to jurors.

The decision was based, in part, on the judge’s decision to let the jury hear the portion of Fugee’s statement in which he described himself as bisexual or homosexual.

The appellate court said the admission could have led jurors to find Fugee guilty because of the “unfounded association between homosexuality and pedophilia.” The rest of the confession was not called into question.

Rather than retry Fugee, the prosecutor’s office allowed him to enter pre-trial intervention, a rehabilitation program for first offenders. At the same time, the prosecutor’s office secured an agreement that Fugee undergo counseling for sex offenders and have no unsupervised contact with children as long as he is a priest.

As a result, Fugee has been barred from unsupervised contact with children, under an agreement with law enforcement officials. The Archbishop of the Diocese of Newark, Archbishop John J. Myers, went ahead and appointed Rev. Fugee co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests.

The article states:

Fugee’s new role is an influential one, with a responsibility for shaping the education and so-called formation of priests in the archdiocese. That includes researching programs and workshops in New Jersey and elsewhere and alerting priests to them, spokesman Jim Goodness said. Fugee is not likely to engage in one-on-one counseling with priests, the spokesman said.

“That doesn’t appear to be part of what his responsibilities are,” Goodness said.

Fugee continues to celebrate Mass daily at parishes across the archdiocese — which includes Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties — but Goodness declined to identify specific churches.

While children are certainly present in such situations, Fugee will not be alone with them, Goodness said.

“He’s on the altar, and families go home after Mass,” the spokesman said.

So to summarize, Rev. Fugee admits to being turned on by grappling with a 14 year old boy, and purposely grabbing the boy’s crotch knowing full well it was a “violation!” Through a series of judicial procedures, Rev. Fugee is given PTI, provided he have no contact with children.

In addition, Rev. Fugee is given a highly regarded administration position where he will have no contact with children. Spokesperson for the Archdiocese, Jim Goodness, in speaking of Rev. Fugee says, “We have every confidence in him.”

And let’s throw this in for a kicker:

Fugee continues to celebrate Mass daily at parishes across the archdiocese — which includes Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties — but Goodness declined to identify specific churches.

While children are certainly present in such situations, Fugee will not be alone with them, Goodness said.

“He’s on the altar, and families go home after Mass,” the spokesman said.

I’m baffled!

Despite his being “cleared” criminally, can you accept that this “priest” will remain so…despite his not being able to be near children?

Besides the obvious implications this has for the church’s image…he also broke one of his sacred vows (which is the least of it.)
The answer is as plain as the nose on my face….No!

 

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