NJ Archbishop Criticized for Mismanagement of Priest Found Violating Court Restrictions on Ministry to Children
Controversy over the way the Archdiocese of Newark handled the case of Fr. Michael Fugee, a priest who continued ministering to children in violation of a court order after being tried for sexually assaulting a teenage boy, has led to calls for Archbishop John J. Myers to resign. Fugee’s legal arrangement stemmed from a 2007 agreement in which he confessed to groping a teenage boy, and he was subsequently found to have persisted in having contact with children, sometimes without supervision.
After evidence of Fugee’s activities was documented by the NJ Star-Ledger, Myers initially claimed that all the priest’s contact with children had been supervised. But the archdiocese admitted in May that Fugee had engaged in activities it was not aware of and “we would never have approved.” That same month, Myers demoted Msgr. John E. Doran, whose signature is on the archdiocese’s agreement to supervise Fugee’s ministry.
Fugee resigned and is no longer in active ministry as a priest. In response to those calling for his own resignation, Archbishop Myers told Catholic World News that what he had learned from the situation was “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.”