Bishop: Rev. Michael Fugee should not have been allowed in youth ministry at Colts Neck church

Asbury Park Press

A Catholic priest once accused of molesting a child 10 years ago should not have been allowed to be involved in youth ministry at a Colts Neck church, Bishop David M. O’Connell said Monday.

The Rev. Michael Fugee, 52, was convicted in 2003 of criminal sexual contact involving a boy in New Jersey. It was overturned by an appeals court and the priest eventually entered a pretrial intervention program. Fugee recently spent time working with minors in weekend youth retreats and heard confessions at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Colts Neck. But he never had permission to do so, according to O’Connell, the bishop with the Diocese of Trenton, who issued a statement Monday.

“Father Fugee had been given no permission to exercise ministry there by the diocese nor had he filed the letter of suitability required of all priests outside of the diocese with the chancery,” said O’Connell in the statement. “The diocese had no knowledge of his activity prior to this time.”

O’Connell said he immediately contacted the pastor of the parish and indicated that Fugee may not exercise ministry there, including any ministry involving youths. O’Connell then contacted officials in the Archdiocese of Newark to inform them of Fugee’s activities.

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