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Bergen County Prosecutor: Autism Training Is Important For Officials

3-18-14

Law enforcement officials began an educational course on autism Tuesday. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the education is important for officers to receive.

“There is such a large segment of our society that consists of persons with autism and police officers — particularly those on the street — they are more likely in Bergen County throughout the state to encounter an individual with autism and today’s training really reflects the need for law enforcement officers to recognize that individuals with autism often will do things that they might not expect,” said Molinelli. “That they might perceive differently than what is extended by that person.”

Molinelli said that the autism training is designed to help police officers react in ways that are not harmful to the individual or the officer. The training provides an opportunity for officers to be more enlightened when addressing individuals with autism, according to Molinelli.

Recently, the Vatican expelled Michael Fugee from priesthood. He had been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. The decision from the Vatican came months after the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office dropped criminal charges against Fugee.

Molinelli said that the decision was a key part of the agreement that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office had reached with Fugee and that the decision to remove Fugee as a priest came directly from Rome.

As for his relationship with the Archdiocese, Molinelli says that he did what he felt was necessary for the office to take over monitoring Fugee.

“There are a lot of conditions that Fugee has to comply with for the rest of his life,” Molinelli said. “We will make sure that he does continue to comply with them. We’re simply dealing with him now as a human being, as a one-on-one person and we no longer need to go through the Archdiocese to ensure compliance. Now we will do it directly with Fugee.”

Molinelli said that Fugee will not be required to register as a Megan’s Law offender, but he will continue to be monitored.


  • SNAPJudy

    The only problem with Fugee being defrocked is now the Newark Archdiocese
    church officials can wash their hands of Fugee and claim to not be responsible for him.

    Something that would protect kids better, would be to defrock/fire
    Archbishop Myers for his callous and reckless handling of sex abuse of children
    under his care. But now it has come to light that we can not count on the pope to do
    the right thing to protect kids.

    A couple of weeks ago Pope Francis stated: “The Catholic Church is perhaps
    the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility.
    No other has done more. And, the Church is the only one to be
    attacked”——-

    His defensive words are very hurtful to so many thousands of victims who
    were hoping that, just maybe, Pope Francis might be different. That maybe he
    really does care about protecting innocent children.

    Either the pope is badly misinformed about the church officials being
    responsible and transparent, or he is just following the same old archaic
    rhetoric that the previous popes have done. Francis words could make a person
    cry, if we had any hope at all that he might take some decisive actions to get
    this horrific abuse and cover up stopped.

    Tragically the sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy
    throughout the world is still going on to this day. Cardinals and bishops are
    still not removing accused predator clergy, and they are still not reporting to
    law enforcement. Their so called “zero tolerance” policy is not being followed
    by the bishops who created it. They don’t have to, because there is no
    punishment to force the bishops to change their ways of protecting their image
    and the institution rather than protecting children.

    Victims have waited long enough for Pope Francis to
    take any action to get this abuse and cover up stopped within the Catholic
    church. It is time for legislators and law enforcement to get involved and hold
    accountable those who commit child sex crimes and those who cover up their
    crimes. Otherwise nothing changes. Silence is not an option anymore, it only
    hurts and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and
    therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511,
    SNAPJudy@gmail.com “SNAP” the Survivors Network of those Abused by
    Priests,