Priest Released from Electronic Monitoring

By Cary Aspinwall
The Arizona Republic
February 24, 2006

Monsignor Dale Fushek won't have to live under house arrest or electronic monitoring before his trial for misdemeanor criminal counts of sexual misconduct.

Justice Samuel Goodman ruled Friday that Fushek appeared to be complying with the court's pretrial conditions, so he removed requirements that Fushek wear an electronic monitoring device and stay under house arrest 24 hours a day.

Fushek, who resigned as pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa last year, was charged in November with 10 misdemeanor criminal counts of sexual misconduct. He is accused of indecent exposure, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and assault involving five minors and two young adult men from 1984 to 1994 at St. Timothy, where Fushek was an influential and well-liked pastor for 20 years.

Fushek, 53, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Thomas Hoidal, Fushek's defense attorney, argued Friday that house arrest was keeping Fushek from visiting his ill brother and mother. The defense also submitted letters from parishioners who were upset that Fushek couldn't visit them in their times of need because of his house arrest.

Fushek was suspended from the ministry because of accusations of sexual misconduct, and is not to be performing any duties as a priest, prosecutors argued.

Electronic monitoring and house arrest is unusual for misdemeanor cases where the defendant has no prior criminal record and Fushek is not likely to flee before his trial, Goodman said.

Goodman said Fushek should be allowed to leave his home to visit family and attorneys, and attend church on Sundays at a church other than St. Timothy.

Fushek must continue to avoid contact with anyone under 18 years of age and remain in Arizona.

The next pre-trial conference is scheduled for March 31 at the San Tan Justice Court and the trial is set to begin June 2.


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