Prosecutor Will Study Remarks by Disgraced Priest
By Jim Norman and Jeff Green
County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Sunday he would
continue to monitor the comments of a confessed child-abusing
Roman Catholic priest for evidence that he may have violated his
agreement to never again profess his innocence.
The Rev. Michael Fugee, who has a history of violating
a court order that he stay away from children, and of recanting
a previous confession, agreed he would not deny his guilt as
part of a deal last October to avoid prosecution and a possible
However, on Oct. 31, the day after he signed the
agreement, he told Michael and Amy Lenehan, two of his most
ardent supporters, that he had not repeatedly molested a
teenager over a two-year period, but had only confessed because
"my attorney said that I was sure to go to jail," Michael
Lenehan told The Record.
"The involvement of the Lenehans continues to trouble
me," Molinelli said in a telephone interview on Sunday. "I would
prefer it if they would just stay out of it and keep quiet. I
don't know what they are trying to do, but I don't think they
are helping Fugee."
The prosecutor added: "Our office knows a lot more
about this case than the Lenehans do. I wish they would just be
quiet and mind their own business."
Fugee's lawyer, John Whipple, had told The Record that
whatever Fugee told the Lenehans on Oct. 31 did not violate his
agreement to remain silent, because the agreement had not yet
been filed in court and approved by a judge.
"I'll have a look at that over the next day or two,"
Molinelli said. "Whipple might have a point. But I can't base
any action on what I read in the newspaper, and I doubt the
Lenehans will be willing to cooperate with me on what Fugee
might have said to them."
Molinelli also said he was mindful of the possible
difference between what might have been a private conversation
between Fugee and his friends and a recantation of his
confession of guilt.
"It's not like he came out and made a public
statement," the prosecutor said. "But we continue to monitor him
and have been monitoring him to make sure he abides by the
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