Target: Archbishop John J. Myers
Goal: Condemn Archbishop for failing to prevent a priest who had been charged with sexual abuse from interacting with children
In 2007, the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey signed an agreement stating that he would oversee one of his priest’s assignments to make sure that the priest never interacted with children unsupervised. Priest Michael Fugee is not allowed to interact with children after rumors circulated regarding his sexual affairs with young boys. Despite this fact, Archbishop John J. Myers failed to properly supervise Fugee, which angered the public when they heard about Fugee’s unsupervised trips with youth groups through the news.
In 2003, Fugee was convicted of criminal sexual conduct after the court found him guilty of manhandling a young boy’s privates during wrestling horseplay. However, this conviction was appealed three years later. Instead of going through another trial, Fugee agreed to sign a deal with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office. In this agreement, Fugee stated that he would receive sex offender treatment and could no longer work with youth groups without supervision. Myers also signed this agreement taking responsibility for assigning Fugee to posts that did not involve children, and Myers has clearly failed on his part as well.
According to the Star-Ledger, after Fugee was appointed the co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, he started to interact with children without anyone knowing. The Star-Ledger states that Fugee worked with youth groups from St. Mary’s and even travelled with young children on weekend retreats and gatherings. Apparently, Myers was unaware of all of this activity until a reporter from The Star-Ledger confronted him about it. This lack of care and supervision on Myers part is highly condemnable. He made a promise via a signed contract that he would keep his eye on Fugee’s activities and he has failed his community.
When news got out about Fugee’s recent activities with children, Steve Sweeney, the president of the New Jersey State Senate, said: “Those who are put in a position of trust, whether it be through elected office, as a coach, or as a person of faith, must be held to a higher standard. And when we are talking about children, that need to trust those in charge leaves absolutely no margin for error. Archbishop Myers must step down now.”
Fugee has since voluntarily left the position, but the damage could have already been done. Reprimand Archbishop Myers for failing to do his job and keep children safe from Fugee.
Dear Archbishop John J. Myers,
When you, the Archbishop of Newark, signed an agreement in 2007 to supervise Priest Michael Fugee’s activities, you made a promise to the community. Fugee was convicted in 2003 for criminal sexual conduct with young children. Even though the conviction was appealed, Fugee had agreed to get sex offender treatment and to no longer work with young children unsupervised. However, according to The Star-Ledger, Fugee was recently participating in youth group retreats and gatherings without any supervision.
As Archbishop of Newark, it is your duty to ensure that young children are not being violated. It was your job to assign Fugee to activities that would not allow him to be in contact with youth groups. However, it seems like the supervision that was applied was rather lenient. To top off of that, it was upsetting to find out thatyou did not have a clue that Fugee was interacting with children until a reporter informed you.
Even though Fugee has left his position, the Archbishop must be reprimanded for your lack of concern and poor supervision over Fugee.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Rosendahl via Public Domain Images