Pastor Steps Down from St. Mary's in Colts Neck

Two Youth Ministers have also left their positions.

Amid what has become a public scandal, Fr. Tom Triggs of St. Mary's Parish in Colts Neck has stepped down from his position, joined by two youth ministers.

The Star Ledger reported on Sunday that Triggs announced his resignation during  Saturday evening mass, following public outcry regarding Rev. Michael Fugee who had been working in the church youth ministry despite a court order to refrain from working with minors.

According a The Star Ledger investigative report on April 29, Fugee confessed in 2001 to groping a 14-year-old boy while working at the Church of St. Elizabeth in Wyckoff. 

However, The Ledger reports Fugee has been seen on youth retreats in Marlboro where he allegedly heard young children and teen's confessions in private while working with the youth ministry.

In an email to parishioners, Fr. Triggs said Fugee had never worked unsupervised with children and was not an official member of the staff.

Fugee resigned from a position with the church last week, and could face additional criminal charges in relation to violating his plea agreement, according to The Star Ledger.

Fr. Triggs resigned on Saturday, along with two Youth Ministers Michael and Amy Lenehan. The Star Ledger reported it was not clear whether the three left voluntarily or were asked to leave.

Calls to St. Mary's were not immediately returned to Patch. 

An email from St. Mary's to parishioners was forwarded to Patch:

Dear members of St. Mary's Parish,   

Our pastor, Fr. Triggs, has asked that the following announcement be made at all Masses this weekend: Fr. Tom Triggs- Statement to Parish

The Bishop of our Diocese, Bishop David O'Connell, has asked that the following announcement be read at all Masses this weekend: Bishop O'Connell- Statement to St. Mary's Parish

Yours Humbly in Christ,
St. Mary's Communications Coordinator 


Read the original full investigative report on NJ.com.

Joe Stein May 06, 2013 at 11:56 AM
For a man to commit himself to both a biological family, as well as the temporal and spiritual needs of a parish, would be overwhelming. Overwhelming??? Trying to care for a family if your are out of work or living in a third country where there is no clean water and you fear for safety at all times. Those are overwhelming. Being a married man or woman and having a job (even as a priest) - not so overwhelming.
Michael Thomas May 06, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Yes, we all bear crosses of varying weights and sizes. But there is wisdom in the celibate priesthood. Important to remember that being a priest isn't merely a "job," it's a vocation.
W.H.Yourmachine May 06, 2013 at 05:46 PM
I greatly hope that instead of vitriol and accusations we can now stand behind our Church as we move on from this unfortunate episode.It is clear that Bishop O'Connell has acted appropriately regarding his obligation as a Shepard. To further criticize and excoriate serves no other purpose than self aggrandizement . Let us remember that the Church , after all, is made up of human beings ,witness Saint Peter's denial of Christ on Good Friday . The Church also however is our salvation.
Michael Thomas May 06, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I agree. My main point is that scandal is brought upon the church not because of her teachings, but rather when her members do not faithfully live in accordance with those teachings.
Hank May 07, 2013 at 05:57 AM
May God help this church and it's parishioners, It must be a very hard time for them. This has hit the national papers and websites. They are under the gun. This is a small town parish. Please, let our prayers be with them. The Lord Jesus, will be with them, will you?


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