Archbishop Myers stresses child safety efforts in Newark
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark (File Photo/CNA).
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark (File Photo/CNA).
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark has reaffirmed the archdiocese’s commitment to protecting children following the resignation of a priest who violated a legal agreement to avoid minors.

“We are not perfect. But people who suggest we have not taken seriously the oversight of our clergy and do not put the security and safety of our families and parishioners, especially our children, at the forefront of our ministry are just plain wrong,” Archbishop Myers said.

“This is among the most sacred responsibilities that I share with the other honorable, dedicated clergy within our archdiocese,” he wrote in a May 24 column for the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

The archbishop said the archdiocese must identify any flaws in its abuse protocols “and fix them.” He pledged a “thoughtful and effective response,” including the appointment of a new vicar general and a review and strengthening of the archdiocese's internal protocols to safeguard children.

His comments come in response to the case of Father Michael Fugee, who in 2001 admitted to police that he groped a teenage boy’s crotch while wrestling in the presence of the boy’s family members. He was convicted of aggravated sexual contact in 2003 but the conviction was reversed on appeal in 2006 on the grounds the jury was not instructed properly.

A 2007 agreement between the priest, prosecutors and the Archdiocese of Newark’s vicar general allowed the priest to remain in ministry provided he was not around children unsupervised and did not engage in youth ministry or hear their confessions.

However, in April 2013 evidence became public showing that the priest has since attended youth retreats and pilgrimages and heard confessions from minors, though without the knowledge of the Archdiocese of Newark’s chancery.

On May 2, Fr. Fugee submitted his resignation to Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, who accepted it the same day. The priest was arrested May 20 for violating his agreement. He could face up to 18 months in prison.

Fr. Fugee was serving as director of the archdiocese’s Office of the Propagation of the Faith. In November 2012 he was appointed co-director of the archdiocese’s Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests.

The archdiocese had defended his appointment in February 2013, saying it had not received any complaints from the prosecutor’s office since the priest’s return from active ministry.

Archbishop Myers said May 24 that when he first learned of Fr. Fugee’s alleged violations of the legal agreement, he ordered an outside law firm to conduct a “full and thorough” investigation.

“I said I not only wanted to know if there was any wrongdoing, but that if there was wrongdoing and it rose to the point that authorities should be notified, I wanted them notified as well,” the archbishop said.

He said the investigation found “certain operational vulnerabilities” in the archdiocese and that the “strong protocols” in place “were not always observed.”

Archbishop Myers said that the resignation of archdiocese’s vicar general, Monsignor John E. Doran, will allow for more effective changes. He announced that monitoring functions will be transferred to the archdiocese’s judicial vicar.

The archbishop said the archdiocese has “an exemplary record” in addressing abuse allegation against its clergy.

“During my tenure I have personally removed 19 priests for substantiated allegations,” he said.

He pointed to abuse prevention programs in the diocese and safety training for Catholic school students. He said priests and deacons have been reminded that they need written permission to minister in other dioceses.

“All of these measures are geared toward safeguarding the members of our parishes and community. You can be sure we will continue to expand our efforts,” he said.

Tags: Clerical Abuse, Abuse prevention

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 30, 2015

Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 4:26-34


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 4:26-34