HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A once-accused pedophile priest in New Jersey is being held on $25,000 bail while a grand jury considers whether he violated a legal agreement to stay away from children.
The Rev. Michael Fugee, 52, traded in his collar for an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles during his four minute court appearance in Bergen County on Tuesday morning, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
He was arrested at St. Antoninus Parish in Newark following an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
Fugee was convicted in 2003 of criminal sexual contact involving a boy. It was overturned by an appeals court and the priest eventually entered a pretrial intervention program.
Fugee entered into an agreement with the prosecutor’s office to avoid retrial on the abuse conviction after a groping incident six years ago. The agreement required Fugee never again to have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.
But Fugee later ended up attending overnight teen retreats and hearing teens’ confessions at St. Mary’s Parish.
He allegedly had contact with minors on seven different occasions between April 2010 and December 2012, at the Claremont Retreat Center in Mt. Arlington, N.J.; the Kateri Environmental Center in Wickatunk, N.J.; the Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park, N.J.; Our Lady of Visitation Parish in Paramus, N.J., and a parishioner’s own home.
Following the revelations that he’d had contact with minors, Fugee, himself, resigned from his post. Two youth minsters at St. Mary’s also announced their resignation.
“I’m very happy the Bergen County Prosecutor has done what he’s done,” sexual abuse victim advocate and former priest
Robert Hoatson told WCBS 880 reporter Monica Miller.
Hoatson, who founded the victim’s advocate group “Road to Recovery,” said that the Newark Archdiocese, which was supervising Fugee, should be next in line for punishment.
“The next one to be arrested should be John J. Myers, the Archbishop of Newark, and if Monsignor John Doran was his lieutenant in this, he too,” Hoatson said. “Once again, here in the church, we’re talking about sexual abuse, but worse, the cover up and the enabling and Myers and Doran are responsible for this 10-year nightmare.”
A spokesperson for the Newark Archdiocese said it is investigating the allegations.
“When the Archdiocese learned of Father Fugee’s violation of certain of its protocols during his off-hours, he was informed there would be serious consequences,” spokesperson Jim Goodness said in a statement. “Nothing is more sacred than the welfare of our children.”
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