Category Archives: Pope Francis I
Priest charged with violating ban on ministry to children freed on bail
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on May 22, 2013 at 8:04 PM, updated May 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM
The Roman Catholic priest charged with violating a ban on ministry to children was released from jail late Tuesday, less than 12 hours after making his first appearance in a Bergen County courtroom.
The Rev. Michael Fugee, 52, walked out of the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack sometime after 7 p.m. A spokesman for the county sheriff’s department, which oversees the jail, declined to say who posted Fugee’s bail, which had been set at $25,000 with a 10 percent cash option.
The Archdiocese of Newark, to which Fugee is assigned, did not secure the priest’s release, said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Archbishop John J. Myers. Goodness would not say whether Fugee was returned to a parish or other housing owned by the archdiocese.
Fugee was required to surrender his passport as a condition of the release.
Investigators with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office arrested Fugee at a parish in Newark Monday night, charging him with seven counts of contempt of a judicial order for interacting with children despite the ban.
The restriction grew out of a 2007 agreement Fugee signed with the prosecutor’s office to avoid retrial on charges that he groped a 13-year-old boy.
Following a Star-Ledger report on the priest’s continued contact with children and teens, authorities found he gave confessions to minors at youth retreats and a private home outside the archdiocese and at two parishes inside the archdiocese, which includes Bergen, Hudson, Union and Essex counties.
Fugee’s lawyer, Michael D’Alessio, did not return calls seeking comment.
D’Alessio, who represented Fugee when he signed the agreement, told the Record newspaper the priest did not violate the terms because Fugee was under the supervision of other adults when he was with children, the same defense initially mounted by the archdiocese.
Goodness, Myers’ spokesman, later reversed that position, saying that while Fugee did violate the agreement, he did so without the archbishop’s knowledge.
“Father Fugee is not guilty of this offense,” D’Alessio told the Record.
The lawyer added that prosecutors, to win a conviction, would have to prove in court the priest “knowingly and purposefully” flouted the agreement.
“If there are other adults in the room, other adults in the vicinity, he was never in a position where he could not be observed,” D’Alessio said. “That’s the key to this, and that’s the key to what he thought.”
Officer shredded copies of abuse documents
- June 21, 2013
POLICE have rejected claims a senior NSW officer destroyed original documents about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, saying she only shredded copies of the confidential papers.
Reports stated a senior officer assigned to the Professional Standards Resource Group (PSRG) – a key Catholic Church body set up to deal with pedophilia within the institution – shredded all records of her involvement.
Inspector Beth Cullen, who was then a senior sergeant with the Sex Crimes Unit, destroyed all documents pertaining to her role with the PSRG from 1998 to 2003, the ABC’s Lateline program reported.
The documents came from a freedom of information request filed by NSW Greens spokesman David Shoebridge.
Former NSW director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery told the program he couldn’t see any circumstances where police would need to shred documents from an internal church body.
On Friday, NSW police said the only material shredded was “copies of that original documentation, which had been circulated to members of (the PSRG) prior to each meeting”.
“Original documentation concerning the meetings was confidential and maintained by the NSW Professional Standards Office of the Catholic Church,” police said in a statement.
The NSW special commission of inquiry into the handling of allegations of child abuse in the Catholic Church, which began in May, will resume next week for a further four weeks of hearings.
Police say the inquiry will examine the appointment of officers to the church’s PSRG and the manner in which that group operated.
“NSW Police Force will continue to provide full co-operation and assistance to this inquiry.”
The inquiry is scheduled to sit for four weeks when it resumes.
Pope Francis meets US Cardinal who quit over abuse cover-up claims
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
7:30PM GMT 15 Mar 2013
During his unscheduled visit to a basilica in Rome hours after becoming Pope, he briefly greeted Cardinal Bernard Law.
Cardinal Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston 10 years ago, after issuing a statement begging forgiveness, and left America after being accused in scores of law suits of failing to protect children.
His former archdiocese has paid out more than $100 million to settle as many as 750 suits.
The Cardinal took up residence in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, a major place of pilgrimage. As the papal basilica in Rome, it was where Pope Francis went to pray on Thursday, the morning after his election.
The Vatican confirmed that he had “discreetly” met the Cardinal, but campaigners for the abuse victims described the fact that the meeting happened as “rubbing salt into still festering wounds”.
David Clohessy, based in Rome for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said: “Tragically, it took Pope Francis only a matter of hours before he dashed the hopes of abuse survivors by visiting the most discredited US prelate, Cardinal Bernard Law.”
He added: “He must have known the hurt that he would cause to already wounded victims and still disillusioned Catholics by this insensitive a