Monsignor Dale Fushek, founder of Life Teen and the former No. 2 man in the Diocese of Phoenix, has had his sex trial put on hold until an appeal is heard. The appeal centers around Fushek’s request for a jury trial rather than a trial in front of a magistrate. The defense has contended that the allegations are spurious because they involve the counsel Fushek gave boys regarding sexual sins.
The charges revolve around five men who were teens in the 1980s and early 1990s. Fushek is accused of engaging in explicit conversations about sex with the boys, inviting one into his bed, “engaging in kissing and snuggling,” and exposing himself to the same boy.
Defense attorney Hoidal has argued that Fushek was counseling the boys as a priest and his actions are protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
“Premarital sex and masturbation are sins that must be confessed according to the church,” Hoidal wrote. “By attempting to punish Monsignor Fushek for inquiring about these sins, the State is preventing him from fully practicing his religion. Fushek’s views on the sexual issues should not be subject to censorship because they are part of his religion.”
Fushek is treading on thin ice by discussing any matter he may have heard in the context of confession.