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Newark's Archbishop Myers defends handling of Fugee case

Catholic World News - June 25, 2013

Archbishop John Myers of Newark has defends his handling of the controversial abuse case, telling the National Catholic Register: “Many of the facts regarding Father Fugee’s case have not been fully reported or have not been presented in a balanced way.”

Father Michael Fugee resigned from active ministry in May, after revelations that he had participated in ministry with young people, in apparent violation of an agreement with prosecutors. The archdiocese had been a party to the agreement, which had enabled Fugee to avoid a second trial on sex-abuse charges after his conviction at an initial trial was overturned by an appeals court.

“We worked with the prosecutor’s office and our lay review board, and we were professional throughout,” Archbishop Myers said. He insisted that Father Fugee was under supervision, although he was able to participate in youth retreats without the knowledge of archdiocesan officials.

Questioned as to whether he should have allowed Fugee to return to engage in priestly ministry, in light of developments, Archbishop Myers said that “our decision was appropriate at the time.” He added:

But what I don’t think we will do again is enter into an agreement with a civil authority that gives the supervisory function to the archdiocese. We would not enter into a memorandum of understanding that places a burden on the Church. The state has more resources.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 26, 2013 5:34 PM ET USA

    Whether one thinks the Archbishop is innocent or guilty in this matter in my view is not the central issue. What is central is; "To whom does he owe an accounting?" Ultimately to God, in any case... But in the meantime, does he not owe an accounting to us, the laity? If we are indeed "all equal" as Francis says, let this man, this Archbishop be examined by a panel of mature Catholic laity, let him be compelled to answer them truthfully. Let conclusions be drawn and recommendations sent to Rome.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jun. 26, 2013 5:42 AM ET USA

    "The Archdiocese is responsible to supervise this guy no matter what the agreement is." - Frodo1945 I doubt if the NSA, never mind the Archdiocese of Newark, could keep tabs on Fugee 24/7. There is no one so devious as a pedophile, and Fugee would have no problem in ducking under Myers' radar. You seem to be ascribing almost preternatural powers to the Archbishop in his ability to keep this pervert in check. No chance.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Jun. 25, 2013 8:10 PM ET USA

    The Fugee case illustrates yet again that when it comes to the media and Catholic sex abuse, the media cannot be trusted. We *don't* know everything that happened in the Fugee case. To all the people blasting Abp. Myers: Where do you get your information? The N.J. Star-Ledger? I thought so.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jun. 25, 2013 5:33 PM ET USA

    This is really weak. We were "professional"?? That's the cliche du jour. Our decision was "appropriate"?? This is almost as bad as Card Law, "we relied on professionals."

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Jun. 25, 2013 12:32 PM ET USA

    So, they won't enter into an agreement that gives the supervisory function to the church. What!!!! The Archdiocese is responsible to supervise this guy no matter what the agreement is. They can't give away that responsibility. It is all diplomatic language for " We failed in our duty to protect the laity". Same old same old.

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