Newark Priest Arrested after Allegedly Interacting with Minors
By Devin McGinley
May 20, 2013
Former Wyckoff pastor Michael Fugee was arrested and charged Monday with multiple counts of contempt of a court order, after allegedly violating a 2007 agreement with prosecutors to discontinue work with children following accusations of sexual misconduct.
The cleric has been living at St. Antoninus Parish on South Orange Avenue in Newark.
Fugee, 52, confessed in 2001 to two acts of sexual misconduct with a Wyckoff teenager, once during a visit to the teen’s home and again during an overnight church retreat to Virginia. The confession was later recanted, and a 2003 conviction was overturned on judicial error in 2007.
Prosecutors opted not to retry Fugee, and instead reached an agreement with the priest and the Archdiocese of Newark that Fugee would return to the priesthood under the condition that he refrain from working with minors.
According to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Fugee violated the agreement by attending church youth retreats and hearing confessions from seven minors at churches around New Jersey.
The prosecutor’s office began investigating reports earlier this month that Fugee had been on youth retreats at St. Mary’s Parish in Colts Neck and Holy Family Church in Nutley.
The controversy that followed the accusations resulted in calls for the resignation of Archbishop John Meyers by prominent politicians such as Senate President Stephen Sweeney and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono. A priest and two youth ministers at St. Mary’s resigned two weeks ago.
The investigation by the prosecutor’s office special victims unit, a release said, consisted of “numerous interviews with individuals who had personal knowledge of an witness [Fugee] attend the youth retreats and take confessions from minor children,” and led to seven counts of contempt against the priest.
Prosecutor John Molinelli requested that anyone with information contact the unit at 201-226-5620.
Fugee was being held Monday night in lieu of $25,000 bail, with a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday morning.