Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A prosecutor has disclosed that embattled Newark Archbishop John Myers is withholding documents about an admitted child molesting cleric, Fr. Michael Fugee.
Today’s The Record newspaper reports that “investigators still need to . . .secure more documents from the Newark Archdiocese that have not been turned over.” It quotes prosecutor John Molinelli.
We see this pattern often. In public, Catholic officials claim they’re cooperating with prosecutors. In private, they’re actually stonewalling prosecutors.
Moving promptly in the Fr. Fugee case is critical because Myers is still letting an admitted child molester live in an undisclosed Newark area Catholic parish. Myers refuses to put Fr. Fugee in a secure treatment center. And Myers refuses to disclose Fr. Fugee’s whereabouts.
So kids remain at risk. For the sake of children’s safety, we urge Newark Catholics to prod their archbishop to reveal where Fr. Fugee is, and has been, and honor the prosecutor’s requests for more records.
To the rest of us, “cooperating” means actively taking steps to be helpful. To many Catholic officials, it means doing the absolute bare minimum to prevent being charged with obstruction of justice. When bishops simply respond to a prosecutor’s subpoena, they brag that they’re cooperating, neglecting to mention that they’ll get in legal trouble if they refuse. It’s like bragging for paying a speeding ticket.
But it’s not just Newark Catholic officials who should be providing information to prosecutors. It’s every current or former Newark Catholic parishioner or employee. Every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Fugee or Myers should pick up the phone and call the prosecutors, so that those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes can be exposed and punished.