The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Notorious accused predator pleads guilty
Statement by David Clohessy, Director - SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
St. Louis MO (USA) 314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home
We hope this brings some comfort to those who have been manipulated, abused, and betrayed by this cunning predator. They have been courageous, persistent and compassionate, and Phoenix parents should be grateful for their bravery and resilience. It’s a safer town because of them.
Fushek is shrewd and will no doubt continue posturing as some kind of ‘victim’ of some ‘misunderstanding.’ But these boys were telling the truth and were sexually violated by Fushek.
We’re convinced that if Fushek had lost his technical appeal for five separate trials, this outcome would have been far different. If a jury had the chance to hear all the evidence from each of these five boys, we firmly believe that he would have been convicted.
As always, we desperately hope that this plea deal will prompt others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward. When victims and witnesses stay silent, nothing changes. But when we find the courage to speak up, at least there’s a chance for healing, justice and, most important, prevention.
We especially call on current and former church employees and members to be helpful whistleblowers, not passive secret-keepers, and to call law enforcement and our support group with any information or suspicions they may have about clergy misdeeds.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the globe. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)
Defrocked priest Fushek pleads guilty to single misdemeanor charge
Defrocked Catholic Monsignor Dale Fushek pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of misdemeanor assault, ending five years of prosecution on charges of inappropriate sexual behavior involving teens.
Fushek was sentenced to 364 days of probation and fined $250 plus a 37 percent surcharge by San Tan Justice of the Peace Sam Goodman.
The sentencing was part of a plea deal that allows Fushek to avoid five separate trials, the first of which was scheduled April 30.
"I feel a tremendous weight gone. I feel I can move on with my life," Fushek told the Republic Thursday. "I feel a brightness I haven't felt for a long time."
Fushek, the former second-in-command of the Phoenix Diocese, was accused of indecent exposure, assault and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection with several incidents involving approximately five young male teens.
The teens complained that Fushek had asked them intimate details of their sex lives and that he had gotten into a hot tub while naked with one of them.
There were no allegations of felony sex acts.
The assault charge involved the "flicking" of a young man's genitals, but prosecutors dropped an allegation of sexual motivation, meaning Fushek will not be required to register as a sex offender.
Fushek said the incident he pled guilty to involved a pickup basketball game, and that doesn't remember the details.
Thomas Hoidal, Fushek's attorney, dismissed the incident as horseplay.
While prosecutor Barbara Marshall said the incident was inherently sexual in nature, Hoidal emphasized that Fushek was not convicted of a sex crime.
Marshall said however that Fushek admitted "inappropriate conduct" with members of his former parish at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa.
Earlier in his career, Fushek gained nationwide acclaim as founder of an innovative outreach program he founded at St. Timothy called "Life Teen." The organization formed chapters across the nation and in several foreign countries.
After the allegations, Fushek was suspended by the diocese. He was later excommunicated for continuing to hold religious services despite an order from Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead to refrain from public ministry.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests