Bergen County prosecutor probing whether former Wyckoff priest violated agreement in molestation case

The Record

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Record

The language of the agreement with prosecutors is clear: Rev. Michael Fugee, a Catholic priest who served probation on allegations he groped a boy at his Wyckoff home in 2001, was not to be in the presence of children unsupervised, and he was never to supervise or minister to children.

But weekend press revelations that, several years ago, Fugee attended weekend retreats with a Monmouth County youth ministry to hear one-on-one confessions by minors, in spite of the agreement, has prompted an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and moved the bishop of Trenton to bar the priest from any further ministry with the Monmouth County parish.

On Monday, meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark argued that neither Fugee nor the archdiocese did anything wrong, that Fugee was always supervised while working with the youth ministry, and that the agreement, signed by the prosecutor and the archdiocese’s vicar general to avoid a trial for Fugee, is being correctly interpreted.

The Bergen County prosecutor, John Molinelli, pointedly disagreed Monday with that interpretation of the agreement — which he called “a very clear document” — but would say little more except that his office is conducting an open-ended investigation.

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