Assignment Record – Rev. Michael Charles Fugee

Summary of Case: Michael Fugee was ordained a priest of the Newark archdiocese in 1994. He was accused in 2001 of having fondled a boy beginning when the boy was 13 years-old in 1999. Fugee admitted to police that he derived sexual gratification from the contact with the boy. He was placed on administrative leave and, in April 2003, was found guilty of aggravated sexual contact. Fugee was sentenced to a lifetime of parole and was ordered to register as a sex offender. In 2006 the conviction was overturned on appeal, due to prejudicial statements at the first trial and a problem with the judge's instructions to jurors. To avoid a retrial, Fugee signed an agreement that he would never again work unsupervised with children, and that he would undergo sex offender therapy. By 2009 Fugee was back in ministry, as a hospital chaplain very briefly - until hospital administrators learned of his past - and in parishes. He was also given chancery assignments. In April 2013 it came to light that Fugee had been assisting with overnight teen retreats at a Colt's Neck parish, including hearing teens' confessions. Parishioners expressed dismay at learning of his past conviction and agreement not to work with children. Fugee resigned from active ministry May 2, 2013. The Vatican announced his laicization in March 2014.

Ordained
: 1994

   

Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1994

Newark archbishop was Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1986-2000).

Dec. 1997 St. Rose of Lima Short Hills NJ 3/4, 2/4, 2/5, 3/3 St. Rose of Lima had a school with 250-298 students, and a religious education program with 450-484 students.

Dec. 1997

McCarrick was succeeded by John Joseph Myers (2001-).

March 2001 St. Elizabeth's

Wyckoff

In March 2001, Fugee was accused of having fondled a 13 year-old boy, on several occasions, beginning in 1999. He was arrested and charged with one count of criminal sexual contact. Fugee had befriended the boy's mother. The abuse was said to have occurred in the boy's home in Wyckoff, and once in a Virginia hotel where Fugee and the mother and boy were staying on a vacation. The boys said that Fugee would grab his crotch while the two were wrestling. Fugee told detectives that he "derived sexual gratification" from the encounters.

NJ

3/3

Fugee counseled couples in a pre-marriage program, worked with a seniors group, and represented the church at the Wyckoff Clergy Association. He also helped lead the parishes youth group program for grades, 1-5 called "Gather the Children", and taught religious education.

St. Elizabeth's had a school with 301-304 students, and a religious education program with 1,000 students.
March 2001 2009        

Fugee is not indexed in the 2002-2009 Directories. Per news reports he was on administrative leave.

Fugee was found guilty in April 2003 of aggravated sexual contact. He was sentenced to a lifetime of parole, and was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Fugee's conviction was overturned and he was granted a new trial in 2006 after a panel of judges ruled that Fugee's statement to police after his arrest that he questioned his sexual identity were prejudicial, and should not have been heard by a jury. In exchange for avoiding a retrial, Fugee signed an agreement that he would never again work with children, and that he would undergo two years of sex offender therapy.

Sept. 8, 2009 Oct. 14, 2009 St. Michael's Medical Center Newark NJ chaplain The archdiocese removed Fugee from this assignment a week after hospital officials learned of his history.
2009 2011 St. Antoninus Newark NJ 3/3 In residence. St. Antoninus had a religious education program with 16 students.
2010 May 2013 Propagation of the Faith

Newark NJ    
2010 May 2013 Society of St. Peter the Apostle Newark NJ    
2010 May 2013 Holy Childhood Association Newark NJ    
2010 May 2013 Missionary Union of Priests & Religious Newark NJ    
Nov. 2012 May 2013 Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests Newark NJ    
  May 2013 Sacred Heart Rochelle Park NJ In residence. Fugee resigned from active ministry May 2, 2013, after it became known to the public that he had violated the agreement to never again work with children. There were also calls for Archbishop Meyers to resign.
  May 2013 St. Mary's Colt's Neck NJ Fugee attended overnight retreats for teens and heard teens' confessions at St. Mary's.

After learning of his history, St. Mary's parishioners and others expressed outrage that Fugee was allowed to minister to parish teens. After Fugee's May 3, 2013 resignation, the pastor of St. Mary's Rev. Thomas Triggs, and the parish's youth ministers, Michael and Amy Lenehan, either resigned or were forced out.

The Vatican announced Fugee's laicization in March 2014.

 

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1995-2011)

Wyckoff Priest Faces Sex Charge, Fondling incidents Alleged by Teenager, By Elise Young, The Record [Bergen County NJ], March 21, 2001
Priest Denies Guilt in Sex Case, Church Assigns a 'Response Team', By Charles Austin, The Record [Bergen County NJ], March 22, 2001
Wyckoff Priest Indicted on Sex Assault Charges, Accused of Molesting Boy, 13, By Charles Austin, The Record [Bergen County NJ], November 30, 2001
Priest's Sex Charges Need Details, Judge Tellsprosecution to Get Information, By Paulo Lima, The Record [Bergen County NJ], March 20, 2002
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
Cop Says Priest Changed His Story, Judge Won't Bar Remarks in Sex Case, By Peter Pochna, The Record [Bergen County NJ], December 11, 2002
Playful Wrestling Turned Ugly, Teen Says, Testifies at Sex Trial of 43-Year-Old Wyckoff Priest, By Peter Pochna, The Record [Bergen County NJ], April 9, 2003
Priest Says He Lied about Groping, Tells Jurors Police Coerced Confession in Sex Case, By Peter Pochna, The Record [Bergen County NJ], April 11, 2003
Priest Gets a Mixed Verdict in New Jersey Sex Abuse Case, By Robert Hanley, New York Times, April 12, 2003
Priest Convicted of Abusing Boy, By Ana M. Alaya, Star-Ledger [Newark New Jersey], April 12, 2003
Juror in Priest Case Expresses Misgivings about the Verdict, By Robert Hanley, New York Times, June 4, 2003
No Jailing for Priest in Fondling of Boy, By Raghuram Vadarev vadarevu@northjersey.com, NorthJersey.com [New Jersey], September 6, 2003
Former Priest Granted New Trial, Judges Cite Mistakes in Groping Conviction, By Justo Bautista, Record [Bergen County NJ], April 18, 2006
Priest Makes Deal, Won't Be Retried in Groping Case; Agrees Not to Work with Children Again, By Carolyn Salazar, The Record (Bergen County, NJ) , July 17, 2007
Archdiocese Removes Priest from Hospital in Newark after Learning of Molestation History, By Jeff Diamant, Star-Ledger, October 16, 2009
U.S. Bishops Quietly Reinstate Accused Priests, By Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR, March 31, 2010
Ex-Wyckoff Priest's Sex Record Must Remain Public, Judge Rules, The Record, October 7, 2010
Newark Archbishop Shielded at Least 4 Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse, By Jeff Diamant, The Star-Ledger, December 5, 2010
Archdiocese of Newark Condemns Star-ledger Report on Handling of Priest Sex Abuse Cases, The Star-Ledger, December 6, 2010
Newark Archdiocese Stands by Ministry of Priest Accused of Sex Abuse, By Carl Bunderson, Newark, February 6, 2013
Rochelle Park parish is told priest is on the way out, Feb. 10, 2013 , By Matthew McGrath, Karen Sudol and Abbott Koloff,
Staff Writers, The Record [NJ].
Did Once-Accused Pedophile Priest Violate Order Banning Contact With Kids?, Rev. Michael Fugee Was Once Accused Of Abuse, But Charges Were Dropped, April 28, 2013, CBS New York
Parents: Why Was Once-Accused Pedophile Priest On Youth Retreats In N.J.?, Rev. Michael Fugee Was Convicted Of Molesting Boy, But Conviction Was Tossed, April 29, 2013, CBS New York
New Jersey Priest With History Of Child Molestation Resigns, Calls Have Also Mounted For Newark Archbishop John Myers To Resign, May 3, 2013
3 Others Out Of Work Amid Scandal Over Once-Accused Pedophile NJ Priest, Rev. Michael Fugee, Once Accused Of Child, Molestation, Resigned Last Week, May 5, 2013
Accused Former Wyckoff Priest Michael Fugee is Defrocked, By Jeff Green, The Record, northnewjersey.com, March 18, 2014
NJ Priest Defrocked After Violating Court Order, nbcnewyork.com, Mar 18, 2014



Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Fugee's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on March 18, 2014.


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