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Newark archdiocese still stands by accused priest

Catholic World News - April 30, 2013

Amid increasingly angry protests, the Archdiocese of Newark is defending a priest who has engaged in youth ministry in apparent violation of an agreement with prosecutors.

Father Michael Fugee, who agreed not to work with young people as part of a deal by which he avoid prosecution on abuse charges, has reportedly been involved with youth groups and youth retreats. The Newark archdiocese, which also endorsed the agreement with prosecutors, was apparently aware of his activities.

But the archdiocese, led Archbishop John Myers, continues to support the accused priest. “Father Fugee remains a priest who is allowed to be in ministry,” said an archdiocesan spokesman. “There is no change in his status at this point.”

The bishops of the neighboring Trenton and Paterson dioceses have said that Father Fugee attended events in their dioceses without their permission. Bishop David O’Connell of Trenton has told his pastors that Father Fugee should not be involved in any parish activities.

Father James Connell, the former vice-chancellor of the Milwaukee archdiocese, has called for a Vatican inquiry into the status of Father Fugee, questioning whether Archbishop Myers violated Church law by failing to report abuse accusations against the priest.

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  • Posted by: Savonarola - Apr. 30, 2013 9:03 PM ET USA

    Myers' behavior here is outrageous. This is clericalism - first comes the arrogance, then the condescension, then the stonewalling. He should resign but, of course, will not. And the credibility of the Church and its bishops in the US will continue to sink.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Apr. 30, 2013 9:00 PM ET USA

    Myers' behavior here is outrageous. This is clericalism in its arrogant and condescending form. He should resign, but won't, of course.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 30, 2013 7:15 PM ET USA

    A test case for Pope Francis indeed. Long ago in my diocese, a bishop who formerly had been involved in the Boston scandals as a functionary of the archdiocese, allowed a priest to stay in ministry even after the priest admitted ugly behavior on his own part; in fact, he advised the priest to be quiet about the "problems". Our bishop had clearly learned nothing from his many close calls as a priest in Boston. Bishop Myers seems to be from the same school of action: deny, ignore, refuse comment.

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