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