Cross to Bare

For 20 years Dale Fushek was the golden boy of the Phoenix Catholic Diocese. Now, his golden boys are talking

"In Grand Junction, the program was all about spirituality," he says. "I got down to Arizona, and it seemed like Father Dale spent most of the time talking about sex."

Partsch found himself being invited more and more to Fushek's room at the rectory.

More journal entries:

"Dale talked to me about needing to be naked on both the inside and outside. Couldn't understand why I didn't feel comfortable hanging around the rectory in my underwear."

"He bought me underwear as a gift and later asked if I was wearing them. He asked if I would show them to him."

"He got me to hot tub with him in our underwear and said 'relax -- just be comfortable,' and 'this is how you get to be intimate friends -- naked on the inside and outside.'"

"He asked me to spend the night and cuddle, and he would hold me tight, and he said he felt connected and 'I love you so much! I'm glad you're here!'"

"In bed he would kiss me on the neck and cheek, and he would try to wrestle about. He would rub my back and get his hand down to my underwear line."

"I was so scared . . . not knowing what he was going to do."

The entries continue: There was the trip to the cabin in which Fushek kept walking in on Partsch while he bathed to talk about sex. More talk of relaxing and being more comfortable with his and Dale's bodies.

"He encouraged me to get my picture taken by a photographer I knew, in my underwear, and he asked if I would get a picture naked. He bet I wouldn't get my picture taken in my underwear but that if I did, he wanted to see [it]."

"He said he only wanted me to go to confession to him."

"He always [was] speaking of 'true loyalty.'"

Later entries show the toll on Partsch's well-being. He writes of being depressed. He writes of contemplating suicide. He writes of not knowing how to get out of the situation. He felt deceived, felt like he "was brought to St. Tim's to be Fr. Dale's pet."

Montano, Partsch's fiancée at the time, says she noticed Partsch becoming more distant and more depressed as the months passed.

One evening, Montano says, Partsch came over to her apartment happy about a recent retreat he had organized. He opened his journal and asked Montano to read what he thought were pages he had written about the retreat.

But they were the pages about Fushek.

"I'm reading this, and it's like, 'Oh my God, what is this?'" she tells New Times in a phone interview from California. "We were up all night [after that]. I was just telling him he had to do something. It was just so wrong what Dale was doing."

Partsch resigned from Life Teen during a Life Teen-sponsored excursion to Italy.

During the trip, which Baniewicz also took, Partsch told his predecessor in Phoenix what Fushek had done to him. According to Partsch, Baniewicz -- who had often described Fushek as the "father I never had" -- defended Fushek and, apparently, later told Fushek everything Partsch had said.

At that point, Partsch says, Fushek began telling people that Partsch "had problems and needed help."

Partsch and Montano sought advice from a priest they knew in California. That priest told Partsch he needed to explain the situation to the bishop in Phoenix.

When the couple returned to Phoenix, Partsch went to the diocese.

When Fushek heard that Partsch was going to the bishop, Montano says, Fushek went to Montano's apartment.

"There's this knock at the door, and there's Father Dale," Montano says. "I said, 'Jim isn't here.' He said, 'I'm here to see you.'

"He tells me: 'Look, I know I have a dark side. But I'm dealing with the issue of homosexuality. Jim engaged in it, so he must have a problem, too. There's got to be some way the three of us can go to counseling.'"

Montano says she told Fushek to leave.

Partsch spoke to diocesan chancellor Sister Mary Ann Winters, before heading to St. Tim's to pick up his final paycheck. He had been told Fushek wouldn't be there.

But Partsch ran into Father Dale in a back room at the church. There, Partsch says, Fushek gave the same pitch he had given to Montano.

"He was crying and apologizing for what he had done to me," Partsch says. "He said he was 'dealing with the homosexuality issue in [his] life,' which is how he had said it to Rini. He fully admitted a need for long-term therapy. At that point, I was just very happy and relieved. He could get the help he needed and nobody else would get hurt. That's all that mattered."

Fushek never sought therapy, though. Diocese officials apparently didn't take the complaint seriously, either. In time, Partsch says, Fushek took a different route:

"He just started slandering me."

On the California priest's advice, Partsch got an attorney. In 1996, the Phoenix Diocese paid Partsch $45,000 in a secret settlement. However, Partsch says, Fushek broke the confidentiality agreement several times in the last nine years in attempts to downplay the incidences. So, Partsch says, "We're clearly no longer bound by that agreement."

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3 comments
Pauline44
Pauline44

Bishop Olmsted after reading Dale Fushek book, you are one dirty bastard and you need to go to hell, what a scum bag MF it's to bad your mother could have avoid us this pain that we are feeling by having an abortion. We hate you bastard don't come to Sun City West any time soon.

Sun City West Bill
Sun City West Bill

Bishop took action on Fushek, we have a PERVERT from Canada David Ostler has been here five years at two catholic churches he can't live in Sun City West he is not 55years old the bishop assigned him here to keep him away from children.

HonestCatholic
HonestCatholic

The New Times is a joke. To even consider your liberal paper would even give this great man the benefit of the doubt would be impossible.

Your paper, your staff and writers are a despicable bunch of anti-Christian type.. we know this. You might fool a few underaged kids, but not us who are in the know.

I know this man and very well I might add. You, along with your noisey evil followers, the AZ Republic, jumped all over this man with vigorous hate.. I have never seen the like. And why? Because some snot-nose little jerks (including Mark Tropio - his dad never did like "FD") didn't get to head Life Teen - so they plotted revenge. Yes I know the facts, and Msgr. Dale was/is totally innocent.

The sumbag lawyers and shrinks all had a hand in manufacturing this bunch of lies - to what end??? For $40,000.. Wow.. To ruin a man for money while your ignorant stinking paper writes the lies to condemn this man. Shame on you and your staff for adding insult to injury.

Msgr. Dale is innocent, whether you like it or not. That is fact and truth. He also built Life Teen, and the most awesome parish in the country.. and it took a bunch of loser liberal evil newspapers, filty lawyers, and corrupt shrinks over many years to crucify this great man.. and he carries his cross well.

Msgr. Dale will not seek revenge. He is a man of God and one who forgives.. He is bigger than us.. He is better than us... He has done God's work.. I am proof of this. He brought me back "home" - back to Church, back home to God and Jesus Christ!

I thank God for Msgr. Dale Fushek.. If you read this "FD", know that you are loved and missed by thousands of your flock.

To the New Times.. your paper is trash.. it caters to people who are unknowning, unsuspecting, ignorant, people who have yet to realize the love of God.

I pray your paper goes out of business by 2010.

 
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