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N.J. Senate president urges archbishop to quit

May 9, 2013 at 1:48 PM   |   Comments

NEWARK, N.J., May 9 (UPI) -- Four New Jersey legislators, in an unusual move, have called on Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to resign over an abuse scandal.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, is the latest to weigh in on Myers, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Sweeney said Wednesday that leaders "must be held to a higher standard."

"As the days go on, it becomes clearer and clearer that Archbishop Myers cannot remain in his position," Sweeney said.

While politicians are usually reluctant to criticize the Catholic Church, Sweeney is the fourth state senator to urge Myers to step down. Similar calls have come from advocates for abused children.

The Bergen County prosecutor's office is investigating the circumstances under which the Rev. Michael Fugee was allowed to work with children. Fugee, accused of groping a teenage boy, avoided retrial on abuse charges in 2007 by signing an agreement that he would not be involved in children's ministry or have one-on-one contact with minors.

The Star-Ledger, in its own investigation of Fugee, found he had been working with children at St. Mary's in Colts Neck, N.J., which is in the diocese of Trenton, and at Holy Family in Nutley, which is part of the diocese of Newark.

Fugee resigned from the ministry last week. Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Myers, said the archbishop did not realize Fugee was working with children.

The pastor and two lay youth ministers at St. Mary's have resigned.

Topics: John J.
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