Detectives from Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s Special Victims Unit today arrested a former Wyckoff assistant pastor who’d been allowed to remain a priest on charges of violating an agreement not to ever work with children again.
The Rev. Michael Fugee is charged with seven counts of violating a judicial order “as a result of numerous interviews with individuals who had personal knowledge of and witnessed” him hearing confessions from minors, Molinelli said.
Fugee, 52, was being held on $25,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail pending a court hearing tomorrow morning .
The prosecutor said that the former associate pastor at St. Elizabeth’s parish heard confessions from minors at least seven different times — including twice at a Rochelle Park parish where he was living in the rectory and at a Paramus church (see below) — violating a court-approved agreement with his office.
Fugee left Sacred Heart Church earlier this year.
Molinelli began looking closely at Fugee following reports that he’d been attending youth group trips with a Monmouth County church.
Church officials allowed Fugee to return to the ministry after a state appeals court overturned a conviction of criminal sexual contact with a minor.
Fugee, who recanted a previous confession, nonetheless was bound by a judicial order signed July 16, 2007 by Superior Court Judge Donald R. Venezia.
The order memorialized a memo of understanding among Fugee, the prosecutor’s office and the Archdiocese of Newark, when Fugee entered the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which kept him from having to go to trial.
According to Molinelli, Fugee heard youth confessions on:
- April 2010 at the Claremont Retreat Center, Mt. Arlington, NJ;
- September 2010, at the Kateri Environmental Center, 160 Conover Road, Wickatunk, NJ;
- October 2011, at a parishioner’s home in Bayville, NJ;
- September 2012, at the Kateri Environmental Center, 160 Conover Road, Wickatunk
- February and March 2012, Sacred Heart Church, Rochelle Park
- December 2012 at Our Lady of Visitation Parish, Paramus
MUGSHOT: Courtesy BCPO
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