Mark Silk | Apr 30, 2013
A week after John J. Myers was installed as archbishop of Newark in October of 2001, a priest of the archdiocese named Michael Fugee was indicted for groping a 14-year-old boy 14 months earlier. In April of 2003, Fugee, who had admitted abusing the boy, was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual contact and sentenced to five years’ probation, community service, and psychological counseling. He was also required to register as a sex offender and to receive community supervision for the rest of his life.
In the meantime, Myers, possessor of a doctorate in canon law, was appointed to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which drafted the bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, approved in 2005. The document provides that “for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor whenever it occurred which is admitted or established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon is to be permanently removed from ministry.”
In 2006, Fugee’s conviction was overturned on a technicality. Rather than retry the case, the district attorney entered into an agreement with the archdiocese stipulating that the archdiocese
shall not assign or otherwise place Michael Fugee in any position within the Archdiocese that allows him to have any unsupervised contact with or to minister to any minor/child under the age of 18 or work in any position in which children are involved. This includes, but is not limited to, presiding over a parish, involvement with a youth group, religious education/parochial school, CCD, confessions with children, youth choir, youth retreats and day care.
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