Ministers quit after allowing banned priest to work with teens in N.J.

NEWARK, N.J., May 6 (UPI) -- A New Jersey pastor and two youth ministers resigned after a priest banned from contact with children was allowed to work at youth retreats, officials said.

Trenton Bishop David M. O'Connell said the resignations of the Rev. Thomas Triggs and the youth ministers were "in the best interest of all concerned," The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Sunday.


Triggs, pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Colts Neck, announced he was stepping down during Saturday evening mass, hours after meeting with O'Connell.

Triggs had earlier accepted the resignations of youth ministers Michael and Amy Lenehan, who had invited the Rev. Michael Fugee to work with teens at youth retreats and other events.

Fugee, 52, signed an agreement in 2007 that prohibited him ministering to children or holding any position in which children were involved.The Newark Archdiocese also signed the agreement.

Fugee had agreed to the terms to avoid retrial on charges he fondled a 13-year-old boy's genitals, officials said.

Triggs will go on sabbatical until he is assigned to a new parish, a spokeswoman for the diocese said.

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