Priest who admitted groping boy appointed to high-profile position in Newark Archdiocese


Priest who admitted groping boy appointed to high-profile position in Newark Archdiocese

A Roman Catholic priest who confessed to groping a teenage boy 12 years ago has been named to a prestigious post in the Archdiocese of Newark, drawing furious criticism from advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse. The Rev. Michael Fugee, who is barred from unsupervised contact with children under a binding agreement with law enforcement officials, has been appointed co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, the archdiocese recently announced in its newspaper, the Catholic Advocate.

For several years, Fugee also has been director of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith, a fundraising position to support missionary work.
The new appointment, effective late last year, shows “breathtaking arrogance” and “an alarming disdain for common sense” by Archbishop John J. Myers, said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, a watchdog group that tracks abuse allegations against priests across the nation.

Okay, maybe priests who re guilty of abuse have to be assigned to seminaries of the chancery because they can’t serve in parishes. But putting such a person in charge of priestly formation??

“Priestly formation”??? This is the kind of person that the Archdiocese thinks is a good role model???

I’m sure there will be twisting and leaps worthy of an Olympic gymnast made to defend this, but I’m not buying any of it.

:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

I’ve stated before that there is still a profound disconnect between some bishops and the laity on this issue, and this situation just serves to prove my point.

Sadly, there are those out there who just don’t yet get it. How can anyone not see how stupid a move this is and how simply awful this looks???

Just exactly what the Church needs at this still-delicate juncture: an admittedly “bisexual” or homosexual priest with proven tendencies towards ephebophilia assisting in formation of priests.

I will refrain from pointing fingers at a particular individual, per forum rules. (Though some finger-pointing is certainly called for…)

:shrug: Yeah this is crazy. It is almost like he is being rewarded in a sense. Hmmmmm Three steps foward and two steps back.


Nothing more to say than that this is sad. Extremely sad. Why would he be moved into a position of forming priests? He is certainly not a role model.

Looking at Newark’s diocesan paper archive, it seems the appointment was effective October 22 last year. I wonder why the delay in reporting on it.

I am curious to hear the Archdiocese’s response.

Joe - thanks for the date.

I may be 3000 miles away, but I’m outraged just the same. The diocese does not seem to have e-mail, so I’m writing to the bishop.

For anyone interested in also doing so, the address is:

Archbishop John Meyers
Archdiocese of Newark
PO Box 9500
Newark NJ 07104


I have a feeling such appointments are not as uncommon as we might think.

My guess would be that the events in Los Angeles have resulted in the mainstream press going back and looking through news stories and press releases that would have been ignored otherwise.

Why does at least one other story from yesterday say his guilt is “alleged”?

Not to start a fight, but playing devil’s advocate for a moment, what should the Church do with priests like this?

According to the article, it appears Fugee was initially convicted of one instance of groping. Deplorable to be sure.

But what now? Does the Church finance his early retirement? Should he get shuffled off to some hermitage for life? Does he get completely disavowed and cast out to fend for himself?

I am not defending what he did or pretending to have the answer. It’s an honest question. It’s easy to criticize almost any action a diocese or archdiocese chooses to take. It just makes me wonder what the best solution really is.

My guess is because he recanted his confession and his conviction was later overturned.

I was wondering the same thing.

What does society do with men like this? Do they still get free rent and food outside of prison? Do they still get nice, cushy desk jobs?

If this man had been convicted of groping a child and he was working anywhere else, he’d be fired, perhaps imprisoned for some time and when he was released he’d be lucky to get a job at a fast food joint.

That’s newspaper-speak for not tried & found guilty. Apparently, he admitted the abuse, it did go to trial, “but…later got off on a technicality.” The article doesn’t say what the technicality was, or whether he was found guiltly before the “technicality” intervened on his behalf.

I wrote my letter. As it was written in the white heat of passion it’s very blunt, but I do think that’s what bishops need to hear. There are too many who will soften their words to the powerful - both secular and religious.

Priest are men who have been entrusted with souls. When they go bad, they really stink.

For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

(Shakespeare but don’t remember what play.)

It’s a pity there are bishops who don’t seem to mind the sench, or have no sense of smell.

I agree that it’s worse for a Priest to do such a thing, which is why the appointment of this man to a cushy and high profile job is so sickening.

I believe if a priest is convicted of sexual abuse he should be defrocked and find other employment. If he is eligible for retirement then he should receive what he’s entitled to. But if he is in good health I don’t see any reason he can’t support himself.

Indeed, that is why I find this news particularly sad. Priests are meant to be Christ’s representatives on earth, not Satan’s.

True, but priests are not desk jockeys. They are not mere employees. A bishop has certain responsibilities toward his priests that are quite different than any other boss-employee dynamic.

Is the solution permanent ostracization? In this case, there was one incident and he already went through the legal system and is on the other side. Even if the Church were to disavow him, what does he do? As you said, who would want to hire him? So is he destined for a life of homelessness and/or living on welfare because of that one incident?

I’m somewhat uncomfortable in that I seem to have placed myself in a position of defending a child abuser. :o That’s really not what I’m trying to do. I just wonder what the appropriate response is. It’s particularly easy to have strong feelings of loathing towards perpetrators of these crimes. But what does society do with them?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit