As a follow up to my last post on Michael Fugee and his support by his Archbishop, here is another article from the New Jersey Star Ledger describing 3 other priests that Myers sheltered. Back in 2002, the non-binding Dallas Charter was developed as a guideline for the handling of abuse cases. Myers was a signatory.
In ratifying the Dallas Charter, Myers and his colleagues promised a new era of reform and transparency. Allegations of sexual abuse against priests would no longer be hidden from parishioners or police, and any priest believed to have molested a child would be permanently banned from ministry.
Despite this, Myers has not proven to be a staunch defender of the victims, and has sometimes sided with the abusers. Besides Fugee, there have been at least 3 other cases.
- In 2004, the Newark Archdiocese wrote letters to six dioceses in Florida on behalf of the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, one week after learning Gorak’s ministry had been terminated in the Orlando Diocese — after he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home.
- Also in 2004, the archdiocese banned the Rev. Gerald Ruane from public ministry after investigating an allegation he molested a boy, but did not publicly notify lay people or other priests. Ruane continued to say Mass and wear his collar in public.
- In 2007, the archdiocese failed to inform lay people that it found a molestation claim credible against the Rev. Daniel Medina, who had worked in parishes in Elizabeth and Jersey City. The case wasn’t made public until a victims group uncovered an alert sent by the archdiocese in September 2008 to other bishops saying Medina was on administrative leave and could not be located.
As well as with his actions, at least some of his statements have shown where his support lies.
In the past, Myers has defended his policy of not naming accused priests, citing the need to protect their reputations and noting that accusers themselves often request anonymity.
“This has been difficult for me because of the special role I have as Bishop,” he wrote in 2004. “I know full well my responsibilities to investigate any accusation, and to fulfill my promise that we will provide safe environments for all young people. Yet I also feel keenly the pain that my brother priests experience when anyone has been accused.”
How does an abuser have anything approaching a positive reputation? Myers demonstrates the fact that it is not only the abusive priests that need to be punished. In order for any real change to occur, the men in the hierarchy need to be prosecuted as well.