State senator calls for Newark Archbishop to step aside, calls handling of priest ‘sickening’

The Star-Ledger

By Mark Mueller/The Star-Ledger

on April 30, 2013

Declaring “enough is enough,” a state senator this afternoon called on Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to step down, at least temporarily, while authorities investigate his supervision of a priest who has worked with children despite a binding agreement barring such interaction.

Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) said Myers’ handling of the Rev. Michael Fugee displays “arrogance” and defies common sense as the Roman Catholic church tries to regain the trust of parishioners in the wake of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

“Based on everything that’s happened, not just in New Jersey but around the country and the world, you have to follow the spirit of the law, and they have not done that in this case,” said Vitale, who has pushed for laws that aid victims of sexual abuse.

“Zero tolerance is zero tolerance,” Vitale added. “It’s not subject to someone’s interpretation or whim. There’s a potential for this person to reoffend, and if there’s any potential for that to happen, they just can’t be there. Being around children at all is just patently unacceptable.”

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