NJ- Victims blast Newark archbishop
They want national church panel to act
Group also seeks action by Cardinal Dolan
NYC prelate is America’s top Catholic official
SNAP: Myers must be "denounced and disciplined"
“Ignoring wrongdoing encourages wrongdoing,” it feels
"Until enablers are punished, abuse will continue," victims say
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their allies will disclose that they are writing to
--New York City’s cardinal, who heads America’s bishops, and
--a national Catholic child sex abuse committee
urging that both promptly discipline Newark’s archbishop for “putting kids in harm’s way” by letting an admitted child molesting cleric be around children (even after having signed a legal agreement with prosecutors to keep him away from youngsters).
They will also harshly criticize Newark’s archbishop for what they call “a series of violations” of common sense, common decency, and the church’s own child sex abuse policy.
Finally, they will call on Newark area Catholics to stop donating to the church until Myers resigns.
Wednesday, May 1, at 3:30 p.m.
Outside the Newark Catholic Archdiocese headquarters, 171 Clifton Ave. in Newark, NJ
Two-three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Woodbridge man who is the organization’s New Jersey state director)
SNAP believes that Newark Archbishop John Myers should resign because he has repeatedly put an admitted child molester – Fr. Michael C. Fugee – around kids. But even if that happens, the group says, that’s not enough. Kids will keep being hurt until bishops who enable child sex crimes are punished, SNAP says.
So SNAP is seeking action from two church authorities. The first is America’s highest ranking Catholic official - the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops – New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The second is the National Review Board (NRB), set up in 2002 by bishops to oversee the church’s child sex abuse and cover up crisis.
SNAP is writing to both prodding them to harshly denounce and discipline Myers for his “reckless, callous and selfish” insistence on “putting an admitted child predator around children.”
Both Dolan and the NRB will likely “split hairs and deny responsibility,” SNAP fears. But both Dolan and the board, at a bare minimum, have “enormous bully pulpits” which they could and should use to push for reforms. Dolan, as head of the bishops’ conference, could bar Myers from membership or attendance, SNAP asserts.
And until church officials who endanger kids suffer consequences, church officials will continue to endanger kids, SNAP maintains. (Virtually no bishop – no matter how carelessly or deceitfully they’ve handled child sex cases – has been punished by the church hierarchy, SNAP says.)
On Sunday, the Newark Star Ledger disclosed that in recent years, Fr. Fugee has continued to work with children, despite a signed agreement with prosecutors requiring him to stay away from children and requiring his church supervisors to keep him away from children.
In 2001, Fr. Fugee admitted to police that he had abused a 13 year old boy. Later, he was formally charged, recanted, but was convicted. Five years later, however, the charges were overturned on a technicality.
To avoid a retrial, Fr. Fugee admitted his abuse, was barred from contact with children, and sent to a rehabilitation center. As part of that same deal with prosecutors, the Newark Archdiocese agreed Fr. Fugee would not be allowed to be near youngsters.
However, the Star Ledger article showed that both the archdiocese and Fr. Fugee are violating the agreement. Facebook photos have emerged showing him with groups of teenagers.
In 2010, at a youth retreat at Lake Hopatcong (in the Paterson diocese), parishioners said Fr. Fugee took confessions from kids.
In 2012, Fr. Fugee attend another youth retreat at Kateri Environmental Center in Marlboro (in the Trenton diocese). There is also evidence that he attended youth meetings and other youth retreats, even one in Canada.
Catholic officials do not deny that these events took place or that Fugee attended.
SNAP is also urging parishioners to stop donating to the archdiocese and its affiliated institutions until Myers resigns. SNAP encourages Catholics to donate – and do so even more generously - to “organizations that protects kids, not endangers kids.”
SNAP also suspects that Myers may apologize soon. If so, the group hopes NJ citizens and Catholics will ignore his words. The archbishop repeatedly put kids in harm’s way, SNAP says, and such actions demand remedies, not apologies.
Mark Crawford 732 632 7687, [email protected]
David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]