Archdiocese Official Resigns After Arrest of Ex-Priest

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    The second-highest official in the Archdiocese of Newark is stepping down in the wake of a scandal involving a former priest who allegedly violated an agreement with law enforcement barring him from working with children.

    Church officials say Monsignor John Doran has resigned as vicar general, a move that takes effect immediately, and he will no longer hold a leadership position with the Archdiocese.

    Doran could not be reached for comment Saturday.

    The move is among several changes the archdiocese says it's implementing to protect children. The changes are noted in a letter from Archbishop John Myers, which will be read in parishes across the archdiocese this weekend.
     
    Myers wrote that the moves stem from an outside review that found “operational failures” in the handling of the Rev. Michael Fugee.

    Fugee resigned from the Archdiocese of Newark on May 2, saying in a letter that he did not inform the archdiocese that he had a youth ministry and was working with children. 

    "My failure to request the required permissions to engage in those ministry activities is my fault, my fault alone,'' Fugee wrote. "I am sorry that my actions have caused pain to my Church and to her people.''

    Fugee was arrested Monday on seven counts of contempt of a judicial order and is to appear in court Tuesday. 

    In 2003, Fugee was convicted of aggravated criminal assault after police say he confessed to grabbing a teenage boy's crotch. The conviction was thrown out but Fugee reached a deal with Bergen County prosecutors that allowed him to return to the ministry if his job didn't involve unsupervised contact with children under 18.

    Since then, authorities say, Fugee became a regular fixture at a Colts Neck parish youth group, hearing confession from minors. He also traveled with the youth group to overnight retreats, including a trip to Canada, according to parishioners and authorities.

    Authorities said Fugee heard confessions from minors seven times between April 2010 and December 2012 at churches, an environmental center and a parishioner's house.

    In the earlier case, he allegedly confessed to police that while on vacation in Virginia with a boy and his mother who were parishioners at his Wyckoff church, he wrestled with the boy and "grabbed his crotch'' and became sexually "excited.''

    After his conviction was thrown out and he entered the agreement with prosecutors, Fugee was placed in a hospital ministry with no pediatric unit, the archdiocese said. He later was put in an administrative position in the main archdiocesan offices.

    An archdiocesan official said that if the archdiocese had known of Fugee's work with youth, he would have been told he could not work with children at the Colts Neck parish. The parish is in the Diocese of Trenton. The pastor of Colts Neck church and two youth ministers who brought Fugee to the church have also resigned.