THE EXECUTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Part Two Afterword
by Kobutsu Malone
From the Link: http://www.bergencatholicabuse.com/
The above essay originally comprised a letter that I wrote and sent out to the following, people / institutions on January 20, 2002:
The Most Reverend John J. Myers – Fifth Archbishop of Newark – NO RESPONSE
John J. Myers
Brian Walsh Irish Christian Brother’s Provincial New Rochelle, NY – NO RESPONSE
Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell Avenue, Oradell, NJ – NO RESPONSE
My father; Kevin B. Malone, Mahwah, NJ – NO RESPONSE
Oradell, NJ Police Department. via email [Official acknowledgement click here.]
This essay was put up on the web in 2004 and drew no commentary until early January 2009. I was quite surprised to receive an email from Mr. Thomas Schwarz, a man who was also a student in Bergen Catholic during my tenure. Since then, I have been contacted by quite a number of BC alumni, (30+) many relating the same sort of experience I had; reading or hearing about clergy abuse in the news and looking on the internet to see if anything was written about Bergen Catholic. Many of the men contacting me asked about specific teachers from that period. To help jog people’s memories, here are some pages scanned in from the 1965 Bergen Catholic Crusader Yearbook:
|Click here for the 1964 faculty photos|
|Click here for 1964 Homeroom 34 photos|
Bergen Catholic Faculty – 1964
|Mr. Dominick L. Albamonte
Br. John B. Chaney
Mrs. J. Warren Chapman
Br. Richard L. Connelly
Mr. John R. Courtney
Mr. Christopher J. Donfield
Br. John E. Dornbos
Br. John L. Gilchrist
Mrs. Walter V. Gilles
Br. Patrick A. Gleeson
Br. James G. Glos
Dr. Robert B. Gorman
Mr. Donald J. Gunther
|Br. Ronald A. Howe
Br. Charles B. Irwin
Mr. Thomas W. Irwin
Br. Alfred X. Kean
Br. Gerald M. King
Mr. P. Kieth Krayer
Mr. Victor L. Liggio
Br. Anton J. Lips
Mr. John B. Maazziotta
Br. Michael S. McElhatton
Br. Patrick G. McPadden
Mr. Salvatore V. Montagna
Mr. Patrick Murphy
|Mr. Thomas M. Murray
Mr. James J. Obrotka
Mr. Michael A. Picciallo
Mr. Ralph J. Pinto
Mr. William J. Rollins
Br. Jerome A. Shannon
Br. Joseph S. Smith
Mr. James E. Sokoloski
Br. James B. Walsh
Br. Robert P. Walsh
Mr. E. L. Williams
Newark needs a spiritual father, not another crime boss
August 23, 2013
From the link: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/cassidy/130823
The disgraced and discredited Archbishop of Newark, John J. Myers, has lashed out like a cornered rat at his critics, the media, politicians, members of the clergy and even the families of victims whose safety he utterly disregarded. In response, today’s Star-Ledger rightly states that “it boggles the mind that in 2013 an archbishop would dare speak of families like this.”
It boggles the mind, indeed, that any Christian leader would be allowed to wreak the destruction this man has caused in the Archdiocese of Newark. His haughty contempt and refusal to meet with anyone disagreeing with him is well known, but the irreparable damage he has caused to peoples lives, to the salvation of souls driven out of the Church, to the Church’s institutions like the approximately 70 schools closed by Myers, and the scores of once vibrant parishes now boarded up are testament to a pompous ass who seeks not to serve, but to be served.
His only apparent defender appears to be Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. Since it is well known that Donohue speaks for the Catholic hierarchy and certainly for his own Archbishop, Cardinal Dolan, who also presides over the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one must ask, how much damage will this unstable narcissist be allowed to wreak before any bishop here or abroad speaks out? What price will they pay? Bishops like Myers have already cost the Church more than $2 billion. Have they no moral responsibility beyond loyalty to a brother bishop? They may wish to ponder the words of Saint Ambrose: “Not only for every idle word,but for every idle silence must man render an account.”
Thanks be to God for the Star-Ledger for exposing the corruption. That newspaper’s editorial board published today a succinct and excellent summary of this ongoing tragedy in Newark; but it is in the comments to the editorial, linked here, where one can grasp the pain, alienation and justified anger felt by those who expect their bishop to mirror Christ and the Apostles, not a crime boss.
- regarding his handling of sexual abuse cases is so crowded with falsehoods and insults that it’s difficult to know where to begin.
- What’s most revealing is what is missing: There’s not a single word of sympathy for the victims and their families. Myers instead insults them by suggesting they are blaming the church for problems in their own families. “One can understand when family difficulties lead parents, even by conjecture, to blame someone outside the family,” he wrote. “But conjecture is no reason to undermine the Ministry of individual Priests (or Bishops for that matter.)”
- It boggles the mind that in 2013 an archbishop would dare speak of families like this. But it is vintage Myers. While many bishops are working hard to rehabilitate the church, he offers only haughty disdain for those who question his judgment.
- This time, he calls his critics “evil, wrong, and immoral” and suggests that they may burn in hell: “God will surely address them in due time.”
- The latest damning information comes from a lawsuit the church recently settled for $1.35 million. It accuses Myers of ignoring a credible accusation against a priest on his watch. The lawsuit claimed that the Rev. Thomas Maloney went on to repeatedly abuse an 8-year-old boy.
- In his deposition, Myers says he never saw written warnings that went to the diocese, perhaps because of his “slipshod” filing system. If that were true, if it was an innocent mistake, you would expect Myers to offer a heartfelt apology to the victim and his family for his failure to red-flag these cases. Instead, he has refused for years to meet with them.
- In his letter to the diocese last weekend, Myers concedes that Maloney gave him gifts, but mentions only one: “I recall that he once gave me a coin of minimal value, of which he had several examples.”
- The court records tell a different story. Thank-you notes from Myers describe a steady stream of valuable gifts, including gold coins, silver, a “much-loved” camera and undisclosed amounts of cash, which Myers said he would use to gamble at the racetrack.
- Put aside these small falsehoods and insults. Because they mean nothing when measured against Myers’ failure to safeguard children.
- Maloney is just one case. While in Newark, Myers allowed the Rev. Michael Fugee access to children even after Fugee confessed to repeatedly groping a boy’s genitals and signed a legal agreement to stay away from children. Last year, he placed an accused priest in a parish in Oradell without telling parishioners.
- In 2004, Myers wrote a letter of recommendation for a priest one week after learning the priest had been accused of breaking into a woman’s house and assaulting her. The same year, he banned another priest from public ministry after investigating an abuse allegation, but did not notify lay people or other priests. In 2007, he did not tell lay people about a credible finding of molestation against a priest working in Elizabeth and Jersey City.
- Myers just doesn’t get it. His complete lack of repentance underscores the need for him to resign for the sake of children’s safety.
© Daniel Cassidy
Priest admits violating ban on ministry to children, says actions are ‘my fault alone’
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on May 04, 2013 at 6:45 AM, updated May 04, 2013 at 9:30 AM
Asserting his actions were “my fault alone,” the Roman Catholic priest who violated a court-sanctioned agreement to stay away from children wrote in his resignation letter that he attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors without the knowledge of his superiors in the Archdiocese of Newark.
The Rev. Michael Fugee — who was removed from ministry Thursday, four days after The Star-Ledger disclosed his association with a Monmouth County youth group — specifically noted in the letter that Archbishop John J. Myers did not grant him permission to minister to children.
“In conscience, I feel it necessary to make clear to all that my actions described in recent news stories were outside of my assigned ministry within the archdiocese,” Fugee wrote. “… My failure to request the required permissions to engage in those ministry activities is my fault, my fault alone.”
The archdiocese released the full text of Fugee’s letter yesterday in an apparent effort to quell a public uproar over Myers’ handling of the priest, who signed the agreement with law enforcement in 2007 to avoid retrial on charges he fondled a teenage boy.
For days after The Star-Ledger’s report, a spokesman for the archbishop insisted Fugee’s interactions with children were within the scope of the agreement, arguing he was under the supervision of lay ministers and other priests.
But amid mounting public pressure, calls by elected officials for Myers to resign and a criminal investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the archdiocese reversed course Thursday, acknowledging Fugee violated the agreement and saying he acted alone.
Myers’ spokesman, Jim Goodness, reiterated that stance in a statement yesterday.
“The archdiocese only learned about two weeks ago when approached by a reporter that Fr. Fugee had engaged in other activities or ministries,” Goodness said. “Had the archdiocese known about them at the time, permission to undertake them would not have been granted.”
Myers immediately approved Fugee’s request to leave ministry Thursday. Fugee remains a priest of the archdiocese but may not wear clerical clothing, say Mass or engage in other sacramental activities.
It was unclear if he or Myers will move for laicization, the process through which one is removed from the priesthood altogether. Beyond the statement he issued, Goodness declined to answer questions yesterday.
In his letter to Myers, Fugee requested removal from ministry “for the good of the church and for my peace.” He also offered an apology.
“I am sorry that my actions have caused pain to my church and to her people,” he wrote.
For the past several years, Fugee has openly been involved with the youth group at St. Mary’s Church in Colts Neck, where he is longtime friends with the youth ministers.
Fugee, 52, has attended youth retreats at the Kateri Environmental Center in Marlboro and at a sprawling home owned by an order of nuns along Lake Hopatcong, both in other dioceses. The bishops of Trenton and Paterson have since said Fugee did not request the required permission before working in their dioceses.
Fugee also traveled several times with members of the St. Mary’s youth group on an annual pilgrimage to St. Anne Beaupre, a shrine in Quebec.
Members of St. Mary’s parish have expressed outrage, saying they were not told about the restrictions on Fugee’s ministry or about his 2003 conviction on a charge of aggravated criminal sexual contact. An appeals court overturned the verdict in 2006, ruling jurors should not have been told that Fugee questioned his sexual identity.
The controversy was the subject of a parish-wide meeting at the church last night.
For years, Myers has faced criticism for his handling of Fugee, whom he has characterized as a victim in the criminal case. In correspondence with priests of the archdiocese, he referred to the criminal case as an “acquittal” despite the fact Fugee entered a rehabilitation program and underwent counseling for sex offenders.
Several years ago, he named Fugee director of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith, a fundraising position to support missionary work. Then late last year, the archbishop appointed him co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, drawing anger from advocates for victims of sexual abuse and Fugee’s alleged victim, who complained the priest’s past had been “swept under the rug.”
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.”
Newark archbishop shielded at least 4 priests accused of sexual abuse
Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 8:30 AM Updated: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 6:40 PM
Eight years ago, Newark Archbishop John J. Myers stood among the nation’s bishops at a landmark gathering in Dallas and helped craft a policy intended to cleanse the priesthood of pedophiles and restore trust among shaken American Catholics.
In ratifying the Dallas Charter, Myers and his colleagues promised a new era of reform and transparency. Allegations of sexual abuse against priests would no longer be hidden from parishioners or police, and any priest believed to have molested a child would be permanently banned from ministry.
In the years since, Myers and his aides say the archdiocese has taken aggressive measures to identify abusive priests.
But a Star-Ledger review of the archbishop’s record since 2002 shows Myers on at least four occasions has shielded priests accused of sexual abuse against minors and one adult. In the four instances, the priests have either admitted improper sexual contact, pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct or been permanently barred from ministry by the archdiocese after allegations of sexual misconduct.
The archdiocese also wrote a letter of recommendation for one of the priests, a week after it learned he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home in Florida and possibly assaulting her.
From one perspective, the newspaper’s findings suggest Myers continues to take a cautious hand in publicly naming priests. The findings, coupled with testimony from a 2009 deposition, show the issue weighs heavily on Myers.
From another view, the archbishop has failed to live up to the guidelines and spirit of what was set forth in Dallas. The most controversial example is the Rev. Michael Fugee, who confessed to police eight years ago that he molested a 13-year-old boy. Fugee was never ousted from the priesthood, and the archdiocese assigned him last year as chaplain to St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark without telling hospital officials of his past.
In other cases:
– In 2004, the Newark Archdiocese wrote letters to six dioceses in Florida on behalf of the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, one week after learning Gorak’s ministry had been terminated in the Orlando Diocese — after he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home.
– Also in 2004, the archdiocese banned the Rev. Gerald Ruane from public ministry after investigating an allegation he molested a boy, but did not publicly notify lay people or other priests. Ruane continued to say Mass and wear his collar in public.
– In 2007, the archdiocese failed to inform lay people that it found a molestation claim credible against the Rev. Daniel Medina, who had worked in parishes in Elizabeth and Jersey City. The case wasn’t made public until a victims group uncovered an alert sent by the archdiocese in September 2008 to other bishops saying Medina was on administrative leave and could not be located.
Neither Myers nor the priests identified above would agree to an interview for this story. But Myers’ spokesman, James Goodness, said the archbishop has lived up to his promises of 2002 and that the archdiocese has carefully followed procedures meant to bar abusive priests from ministry. He said it has trained thousands of church employees to spot molestation, published procedures for filing sex accusations against priests and passed annual audits examining whether it keeps its promises. He noted, too, that the archdiocese has an agreement with the state Attorney General’s Office to forward all allegations of sexual misconduct to county prosecutors.
“We do not have priests in ministry without proper supervision, and those who have had credible allegations have been removed from ministry,” Goodness said. “We do notify the communities where people (priests) have served of the existence of allegations and the results of all our inquiries.
“We believe we are living both within the letter and the spirit of the charter,” he said.
Asked to provide the number of priests accused of or disciplined for sexual misbehavior with a minor since 2002, Goodness declined. In 2004, Myers did announce the results of an internal review prompted by the scandal. From 1950 to 2002, Myers said there were 91 allegations made against the 3,310 clergy who served in the archdiocese, and that 51 were deemed credible.
In the past, Myers has defended his policy of not naming accused priests, citing the need to protect their reputations and noting that accusers themselves often request anonymity.
“This has been difficult for me because of the special role I have as Bishop,” he wrote in 2004. “I know full well my responsibilities to investigate any accusation, and to fulfill my promise that we will provide safe environments for all young people. Yet I also feel keenly the pain that my brother priests experience when anyone has been accused.”
Longtime critics of the church say Myers’ record shows a continued arrogance.
“Archbishop Myers is not indicating any serious intent to protect kids from the credibly accused sex offenders he knows about,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of bishopaccountability.org, a watchdog group that compiles a database of news articles on priests accused of molesting minors. “It’s clear by the pattern that this practice is still one of arrogant secrecy.”
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Myers “continues to act slowly, deceptively, callously and irresponsibly.”
Though Myers rarely speaks publicly about the sex abuse issue, he did share his thoughts in a wide-ranging deposition for a lawsuit brought by Gorak’s victim. In the Nov. 3, 2009, deposition, he defended his handling of several cases, including that of Fugee, while also expressing sympathy for victims.
“Having met with various victims, they often blame themselves,” he said. “They often suffer loss of self-image and can move onto other more serious problems, trying to compensate for the feelings that they don’t want to deal with.”
“And what do you mean when you say ‘move onto other serious problems’?” asked the plaintiff’s attorney.
“Drugs,” Myers said.
On March 19, 2001, detectives arrived at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Wyckoff and picked up the Rev. Michael Fugee, who was alleged to have molested a 13-year-old boy.
For the first 90 minutes of an interview at the police station, Fugee denied the allegations, Detective John Haviland of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office later testified. Eventually though, Haviland said Fugee admitted to the charges and “then made some unusual comments about his sexuality, being a compulsive masturbator. He also stated he was bisexual, and that he was a virgin. He also said that he was infatuated with crotches or penis size.”
Haviland testified that Fugee then admitted to two separate incidents with the boy, where the priest “intentionally touched his crotch over his clothes. He said both times they were during wrestling, and that there were other people present, but he did not believe that they would have actually seen what he did. He described it as an urge.”
At trial in 2003, Fugee recanted the confession, saying he lied to police so he could go home earlier. The judge ruled the confession was “totally voluntary,” and a jury convicted him of aggravated criminal sexual contact while acquitting him of child endangerment. An appeals court later overturned the conviction, ruling the judge improperly instructed jurors. The appellate ruling did not question the validity of the confession.
Prosecutors dismissed the case in 2009 after securing an agreement with Fugee and the archdiocese through pretrial intervention stating that Fugee never again will minister to minors.
“We brought the case against him … believing that he did it, and believing that we could prove it,” Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. “And notwithstanding the reversal, we still believe that he did it.”
In October 2009, The Star-Ledger learned Fugee had been given a job as chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark. Approached in the chaplain’s office, Fugee showed a reporter a card that identified him as a “Roman Catholic priest in good standing.”
The hospital, upon learning of his past, had him removed.
Goodness said Myers does not view Fugee’s confession as genuine and thus believes he can return to public ministry.
“That’s one of the issues that got challenged in the courtroom,” Goodness said. Myers, he said, “says that there may have been problems with it (the confession).”
Goodness also said “a lot of people” in the court system felt Fugee’s confession should not be taken at face value. When asked who those people were, he named only Fugee’s attorney.
During the November 2009 deposition, Myers expressed disappointment that Fugee let detectives interview him without counsel.
“Is it your recollection,” the plaintiff’s attorney, Jessica Arbour, asked Myers, “that he (Fugee) admitted that he touched the boy?”
“Unfortunately, without his lawyer present, he did,” Myers said.
For its part, the Survivors Network, or SNAP, called Fugee’s assignment to St. Michael’s “particularly egregious” and said it was the most reckless move by any American bishop in 2009.
Last spring, Fugee filed a motion to have his case expunged from public records. A judge ruled against the expungement in October. Fugee’s current job, for the archdiocese’s mission office, involves its overseas missionary efforts.
‘A SEAL OF APPROVAL’
In 2004, two days before Christmas, the Newark Archdiocese learned the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, who had been assigned to work in the Diocese of Orlando, Fla., had been accused of assaulting a female parishioner.
Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski wrote to Myers and explained he had just terminated Gorak’s ministry, citing the priest’s erratic behavior in public and the complaint of a woman who said “that he broke into her house and may have had physical contact with her.”
A week later — on Dec. 30, 2004 — Myers’s number two, the Very Rev. Robert Emery, wrote six separate letters on Gorak’s behalf to church officials in other Florida dioceses. The letters — sent to officials in Miami, Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, Venice and Pensacola-Tallahassee — noted that Gorak’s faculties had been removed in the Orlando Diocese and that the Newark Archdiocese subsequently placed him on six months of medical leave. But they made no mention of the fresh accusation against Gorak in Orlando.
“Father has expressed a desire to seek permanent ministry in Florida in the future and currently resides in Lakeland, Florida,” each one of the letters reads. “Father continues to enjoy the faculties of the Archdiocese of Newark. Should you be contacted by Father Gorak, I would be happy to provide you with additional information about his status.”
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest who in the 1980s warned bishops about sex abuse among clergy, said the archdiocese should have mentioned the accusation “rather than try to pawn him off on someone else.”
The Rev. Thomas Reese, research fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, said the letter’s omission of the accusation was disturbing.
“Does he have to describe it in gruesome detail in the letter? No. The letter has to be clear enough that the bishop receiving it knows there’s a red flag here that needs to be investigated before he even considers taking this guy,” Reese said. “Saying that he continues to enjoy the faculties of the Newark diocese, he is giving a seal of approval for the guy.”
Goodness defended the letter and said “we put them on notice that they need to call us with anything if he does show an interest in working in another diocese.”
Asked why the letter did not mention the accusation, Goodness said he did not know.
The archdiocese placed Gorak on leave in May 2005, after Orlando police charged him with assault, false imprisonment, aggravated stalking and battery. A woman told police he broke into her home, pulled a telephone from its jack, removed his clothes and tore some of the woman’s clothes while trying to remove them, according to a police report.
Two months later, Myers wrote Gorak in jail, sending his prayers and best wishes, and promising that the church would follow the advice of the accused priest’s attorney.
In 2006, Gorak pleaded guilty to assault, and the archdiocese earlier this year settled a lawsuit brought by the accuser, the woman in Florida, for an undisclosed amount.
His history with women came into focus in the lawsuit. In 2004, when he asked to be transferred from Newark to Florida, the archdiocese informed the Diocese of Orlando that he was a priest in good standing even though a police report from 2001 and a confidential memo written by the Rev. Ron Marczewski, then of St. Adalbert’s in Elizabeth where Gorak worked in 1998, indicated serious misbehavior with women, court documents show.
The archdiocese contended in the lawsuit that the priest’s confidential memo never found its way to the chancery office. In depositions and court documents, church officials said they never talked to the priest about Gorak, even though on two occasions they formally reviewed Gorak’s record.
Only earlier this year did Myers begin proceedings to have Gorak laicized, that is, formally removed from the clergy, according to Goodness.
In the deposition last year, Myers was asked by the victim’s attorney what he would have done if told, before Gorak’s May 2005 arrest, that he had tried to rape a woman in Orlando. Myers said he would have recalled Gorak to Newark and advised him to return to his native Poland.
NO ALERTS ISSUED
On Holy Thursday in 2005, the Rev. Gerald Ruane concelebrated Mass at St. Joseph’s Shrine in Stirling. Weeks later, he appeared in vestments in a TV interview from Rome after Pope John Paul II’s death.
The problem was, Ruane wasn’t supposed to appear in public as a priest. And few people seemed to know of that restriction.
In 2004, the archdiocese permanently barred Ruane from ministry after investigating accusations by at least two minors. One, Michael Iatesta, said Ruane molested him throughout his adolescence. Ruane denied the allegations.
Upon learning of Ruane’s subsequent public appearances, Iatesta complained to church officials, who privately reprimanded the priest, according to the archdiocese. But Iatesta and SNAP officials said the archdiocese should have informed the public of the restrictions.
In March 2006, Myers changed his policy on alerting parishioners about investigations, saying he would alert parishioners when a pastor was permanently barred from ministry over sex allegations. At the time, a Star-Ledger review of policies in New Jersey’s four other dioceses showed Myers was the only one not already doing that.
SNAP praised the announcement of the change.
Four months later, the archbishop had to decide whether to alert a different parish about a different priest, the Rev. Daniel Medina.
Medina had pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced to three months’ probation. He admitted in court that he “inappropriately placed a young boy on (his) lap.”
The boy had alleged in 2004 that Medina had oral sex with him, when he was 8, in the sacristy of Blessed Sacrament Church in Elizabeth. The prosecutor, John Esmerado, said he told the archdiocese the plea bargain reflected his desire to avoid making the child testify, rather than from any weakness in the initial charge.
The archdiocese failed to alert parishioners in 2006 when Medina pleaded guilty, in 2007 when its review board deemed the accusation credible, or in 2008 when it alerted Catholic bishops nationwide that it had barred Medina from ministry and couldn’t locate him. SNAP eventually obtained that alert in September 2008 and publicized it.
Asked at the time why Myers hadn’t notified parishioners, Goodness said, “This is being done on our schedule.”
In April 2005, Gorak changed his name to Walter Fisher, six months after he assaulted the Florida woman and one month before his arrest. At the deposition in November 2009, Myers said the archdiocese did not know about Gorak’s name change until after the fact.
“It was inappropriate for him to do so without my permission,” Myers said. “His bishop in Poland or whichever diocese he had been ordained (in) should have been notified so that the ordination register could be changed to reflect this legal change.”
The attorney taking Myers’ deposition then asked if Gorak, by changing his name, had violated his oath of obedience to Myers.
“I don’t know if I would go that far,” Myers said, “but it was inappropriate because it introduced a confusion into sacramental record-keeping.”
Gorak isn’t the only former priest from the Newark Archdiocese to have a run-in with the law and then change his name. In 1982, the Rev. Carmine Sita of St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City admitted sexually assaulting a teenage boy. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months’ probation.
He then legally changed his name.
Within a year of his guilty plea, he was the Rev. Gerald Howard. At that time — still on the rolls as a Newark Archdiocese priest — he went to work at a parish in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., and then as a counselor at a Missouri hospital.
The Newark Archbishop at the time, Peter Gerety, never informed the public about the name change. Neither did his successor, Theodore McCarrick. And neither did Myers — even after the archdiocese conducted a comprehensive review of its case files of abusive priests in 2002, in the wake of the scandal.
Mark McAllister, who says he was molested by Howard in Missouri in the 1980s, said the lack of notification allowed Howard “to continue in his deviant behaviors. … If you looked him up, you’d have found nothing. But if you looked up Carmine Sita — same person — you’d find a conviction for sexual molestation of a minor.”
Goodness said there was no need in 2002 to notify the public about Sita’s name change.
“There was a legal filing of his name change in the paper,” he said. “It was a matter of public record.”
Last autumn, McAllister settled claims against the Newark Archdiocese, Jefferson City Diocese and the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious order, for $600,000. The Newark Archdiocese gave $225,000 toward the settlement.
In April, officials in Cooper County, Mo., charged Howard, who is now retired, with the forcible sodomy of McAllister. The prosecutor, Doug Abele, said Howard is also facing charges in two other cases.
Overall, it is difficult to assess Myers’ performance or compare him with other bishops because much of the information on these cases is confidential. Clohessy, of SNAP, said he ranks Myers’ handling of the crisis in the bottom third of the 195 diocesan bishops’ in the country, “in large part because of his ongoing secrecy.”
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, who frequently testifies as an expert witness in lawsuits involving abusive priests, criticized Myers’ actions and said they are too common among bishops. He said American bishops, as a group, have behaved abysmally since 2002, and still seem to care more about protecting themselves from litigation than about helping victims heal.
“This brings great shame on the church,” said Doyle, who co-wrote a report in the 1980s warning bishops about the impending crisis. “I look back on all this and say: Something is drastically, fundamentally wrong with the Catholic hierarchy, if this is their consistent response across the board.”
According to the watchdog group bishopaccountability.com, 25 dioceses — including Philadelphia’s, but not Newark’s — have posted a list on their websites naming every priest removed after an accusation deemed credible by the diocese. Victims groups praise these lists, saying they deny abusive priests the cover of confidentiality that could help them abuse again.
Myers also has failed to regularly alert parishioners to investigations. Those alerts are now more common nationwide, Reese said. Among the bishops who notify parishioners is Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen. In 2003, SNAP singled out Bootkoski for praise, calling him the best American bishop at handling abuse allegations and noting that he alone among bishops had named a SNAP member to the diocesan panel that investigates allegations.
Victims’ advocates view those alerts as a basic tool to promote transparency and say it bolsters investigations by encouraging other victims to come forward. The bishops’ promises of 2002 explicitly included restoring reputations of priests who, after being removed for an investigation, were exonerated. But Myers has short-circuited that process by not being open about investigations early on, Clohessy said.
Indeed, Myers has opposed publicizing allegations since the early days of the scandal — with no apologies to his critics. Writing to lay people in April 2002, he acknowledged that sometimes, while the archdiocese tried to keep investigations quiet, “there have been a few recent instances where privacy has been lost.”
Doblin: Newark archbishop goes to the mattresses
By ALFRED P. DOBLIN
RECORD EDITORIAL COLUMNIST
Alfred P. Doblin is the editorial page editor of The Record. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow AlfredPDoblin on Twitter.
NEWARK Archbishop John J. Myers is going to the mattresses. The archdiocese has hired Michael Critchley, a criminal defense lawyer who famously got Michael “Mad Dog” Taccetta, a member of the Lucchese crime family, an acquittal back in the 1980s. Showtime’s “The Borgias” should move its shooting location to Newark.
Myers is under fire because the archdiocese allowed the Rev. Michael Fugee to participate in youth events despite both Fugee and the archdiocese entering into an agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office barring Fugee from such contact.
The priest, who resigned last week, had been convicted of groping a minor, but the conviction was overturned on a technicality. Rather than face a new trial, Fugee made a deal with prosecutors and part of that deal was no unsupervised contact with children and no ministering to children.
However, Fugee went on youth retreats and had one-on-one contact with children in the Newark archdiocese, as well as in dioceses outside of Newark, without the consent of those bishops. The Newark archdiocese has continued to claim it has done nothing wrong.
This would be just reprehensible if it occurred in the private sector; it is something baser, something more vile happening in the Roman Catholic Church. This institutional arrogance was at the heart of the national scandal of priests sexually abusing minors for decades while church officials did nothing to stop it, in many cases enabling the abuse. High-ranking clergy closed their ranks around predators, all to save the face of the institution rather than protect children. Actually, it was less about saving face and more about saving money. Predators are costly.
Yes, they are. They cost children their innocence, something that should be more sacred than the millions of dollars of church funds that have been pouring out like foul-scented sweat to compensate for decades of damage.
For an archdiocese that claims no wrongdoing, Newark’s hiring of a lawyer who can get a reputed mobster an acquittal says much. It says the archdiocese is nervous it may be criminally culpable. Well, cleaning up the Catholic Church is no different than cleaning up wharves along the waterfront. Unless the bad people go to prison, nothing changes.
That is why state Sen. Barbara Buono’s recent call for Myers’ resignation is pointless. The likely Democratic nominee for governor has been joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney in demanding that Myers resign. Lamentations are so Old Testament; these are modern times. Bishops do not care what politicians say about morality. If Buono and Sweeney want to get Myers’ attention, they would be better off introducing a bill taxing church property. Myers would respond to that.
Fugee has a right to a good defense lawyer and so does the archdiocese; that is the promise of the American judicial system. The money to pay for that defense comes from the pews – indirectly, perhaps, but money used to pay for legal fees could have paid for charity work, for education, for ministering to the disenfranchised. Instead that money goes to pay for a legal defense of actions that are morally not defendable. In 2012, U.S. dioceses paid out $35,341,740 just in attorneys fees for sexual abuse cases.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is reportedly following the doings in the Newark archdiocese. That sounds good, but inside the Church it means little. Dolan, while prominent, has no authority over a New Jersey archbishop. The only way Myers will be removed is by action from Rome.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which Dolan is the current president, has been mum on Myers and Fugee. In the wake of the clerical sex scandal, the U.S. bishops created the so-called Dallas Charter that calls for zero tolerance in any credible case of sexual abuse. The annual compliance audit of the charter was released Wednesday. It cites great successes in educating dioceses on how to prevent future abuse. It also notes a critical limitation with the auditing process: the unwillingness of most dioceses to allow these independent observers to conduct onsite parish audits. Instead, they must rely solely on information provided by the diocese. The foxes are not only still guarding the hen house, they are writing the monthly newsletter as well.
Myers clearly ignored the intent of the charter, but there is no statement of condemnation by the conference, even though the conference is not silent when it matters to the conference. On Tuesday, Delaware legalized same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the bishops’ conference issued a release decrying a “serious injustice in Delaware.” It took less than 24 hours for a reaction.
The bishop who heads this particular subcommittee wrote, “Our society either preserves laws that respect the fundamental right of children to be raised by their moms and dads together in marriage, or it does not.”
What about: Our society either preserves laws that respect the fundamental right of children not to be put at risk by potential sexual predators, or it does not.
U.S. bishops are not shy criticizing public and government policy it views as wrong, but when it comes to admonishing their own, the men are as silent as a convent of cloistered Carmelite nuns. There should be universal outrage.
Instead of calling for forgiveness for failing to put children’s safety above a priest’s assignment, Myers called a lawyer. By all accounts, Critchley is the attorney to hire if you want an acquittal, but even someone as skilled as he cannot get Myers absolution.