HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Rev. Michael Fugee was set to be stripped of the priesthood, after revelations that he continued to work with children following a confession that he groped a boy.
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, Bergen County, N.J. Prosecutor John Molinelli said Friday that Fugee has agreed to seek and obtain laicization from the Roman Catholic Church.
Fugee had been convicted of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact in 2003 and sentenced to probation, but the conviction was later reversed. But when Fugee settled the criminal charges, a condition was that his contact with minors was to be restricted.
But Fugee admitted he ignored the order, attending youth retreats and hearing confessions from minors between 2010 and 2012. He has now signed onto an agreement with the prosecutor’s office to avoiod jail, but be defrocked.
“The primary relief of course being that he will be what’s called ‘laicize,’ so he will no longer be a Priest in the Catholic Church,” Molinelli said.
Molinelli said he doubts his office could have won such an order – even with a conviction – had it just taken Fugee to trial. He said the county will now monitor Fugee to make sure he stays away from kids.
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