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Priest charged with sexual molestation

Nov. 23, 2005 at 12:00 AM

PHOENIX, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A Roman Catholic priest in Phoenix who founded an international organization for young people 20 years ago has been charged with molesting teenage boys.

Monsignor Dale Fushek was arrested Monday. He was released on bail and required to wear an electronic monitor and to stay away from anyone under the age of 18.

Fushek faces 10 misdemeanor counts, including indecent exposure, endangering a minor and assaults on teenagers and young men. He denies the charges.

In 1985, Fushek was one of the founders of Life Teen, an organization that brought young people back into church with meetings geared to their concerns and special masses.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said more serious charges are possible.

The Phoenix diocese has been troubled by allegations of sexual misconduct in recent years. Several priests fled the country to avoid charges, and Bishop Thomas O'Brien acknowledged protecting priests suspected of misconduct. O'Brien later resigned after being charged with drunken driving.

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