Predator Priest Breaks His Plea Deal, SNAP Responds
February 10, 2014
We are sad but not surprised that an ex-priest has apparently broken his deal with a prosecutor by continuing to profess his innocence.
Michael Fugee, a one-time Newark archdiocese priest, is again showing how remorseless and selfish he is.
Prosecutor John Molinelli is right - the Lenehans are not helping Fugee. They are, however, helping law enforcement by publicly exposing a criminal who is incapable of keeping his word and honoring his commitments. And they're helping the public by showing just how unrepentant and manipulative sexual predators can be.
We disagree with the prosecutor in one key way: We are glad the Lenehan family, no matter how misguided their intentions might be, have disclosed that Fugee has violated his plea deal. Every citizen who sees criminals break the law should speak up.
In light of this new information, we hope the DA will
– investigate and if possible, take stern action against Fugee, and
--use his bully pulpit and resources to beg anyone else who may have seen or may suspect that Fugee is breaking his agreement.
And we believe Archbishop John Myers -whose colleagues and staff helped recruit, educate, ordain, and protect Fr. Fugee – should also publicly urge those who saw, suspected or suffered Fugee's crimes – whether old or new – to call police and prosecutors right away.
But of course, he won't. Myers will say nothing. He will do what Catholic officials have long done in child sex abuse and cover up cases - the absolute bare minimum
In a clever hair-splitting claim, Fugee's lawyer says Fugee didn't really violate the agreement because he professed his innocence in between signing it and filing it in court.
We're not lawyers. We don't know whether this shameless maneuver will pass legal muster. But Fugee's actions and his defense of those actions show just how risky it is to make deals with child molesters.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)