Facing charges of inappropriate sexual behavior involving teenage boys, former East Valley priest Dale Fushek pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of misdemeanor assault in San Tan Justice Court.
Fushek, 57, former pastor of Mesa’s St. Timothy’s Catholic Community church, was a co-founder of the international Catholic youth program, Life Teen, and was vicar general, or second-in-command of the Diocese of Phoenix. He entered into a plea agreement with the court where he was fined $342 and placed on a year’s probation, according to a court spokeswoman.
Fushek admitted to sexually touching a teenage boy who was a member of Life Teen during the mid-80s. Fushek had faced one count of assault, one of indecent exposure and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for incidents allegedly committed between 1985 and 1993.
The plea agreement was reached after court proceedings that required separate trials against the defrocked priest for seven misdemeanor charges, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The agreement avoids a trial that was scheduled to begin April 30. It also eliminates the need to subject the victims to a trial, and required Fushek to admit his guilt, the county attorney’s office said.
The allegations against the defrocked priest were brought to the attention of the county attorney’s office in 2005.