Report: Fugee Will Fight Latest Charges
By Devin McGinley
May 23, 2013
Michael Fugee's lawyer contended Wednesday that the embattled former Wyckoff pastor is innocent of charges he violated a court order in his continued work with children, northjersey.com reported.
Fugee was arrested and charged Monday with seven counts of contempt of a court order, for allegedly hearing confessions from minors around the state in violation of an agreement reached with prosecutors.
Prosecutors, Fugee, and the Archdiocese of Newark signed an agreement in 2007 that the pastor, who had been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, could return to the priesthood under the condition that he no longer work with children.
Fugee admitted in 2001 to groping a Wyckoff teenager on two occasions, but he later recanted and a 2003 conviction for sexual misconduct was overturned due to judicial error. Prosecutors reached the 2007 agreement rather than retrying the pastor.
Michael D'Alessio, who also represented Fugee through his signing of the agreement, maintains that the priest's interactions with children were all properly supervised, and done without violation of the judicial order.
"Father Fugee is not guilty of any offense," D'Alessio told the Record. "He did not under any circumstances violate a memorandum of understanding. He was very aware of it. He was aware of what he could do and not do."
D'Alessio added that Fugee was only barred from unsupervised interactions with minors, a clause he said was central to the agreement.
Fugee was remanded to custody in lieu of $25,000 bail after a first appearance in Bergen County Superior Court Tuesday.