N.J. archdiocese criticized for promotion

Feb. 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM   |   Comments

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Sex abuse victims' advocates are criticizing the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., for promoting a priest who allegedly admitted to groping a teenage boy.

The Rev. Michael Fugee, who has been barred from one-on-one contact with children as part of a binding agreement with law enforcement, has been promoted to a prestigious post within the archdiocese, where he will now help in the "formation" of new priests, heading up the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers said recently.

The Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger said Sunday victims' advocates were aghast at the news, saying it showed "breathtaking arrogance" and "an alarming disdain for common sense."

Fugee allegedly admitted to police he groped a 14-year-old boy while visiting his home and while on a vacation more than a decade ago. He was charged with sexual contact with a minor and child endangerment. A jury convicted him of the former charge though it was overturned due to a technicality on appeal.

Rather than re-try Fugee, prosecutors allowed him to enter a diversion program aimed at treating first-time offenders. As part of that deal, Fugee had to promise no unsupervised interaction with children as long as he is a priest.

An archdiocese spokesman said Fugee's new role does not violate the terms of that agreement.

Topics: John J.
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