Fushek, the highest-ranking American Catholic official ever popped with criminal charges for sexual misconduct, is confined to his residence with what The Bird hopes is a clerical shock collar while he awaits misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and assault involving five minors and two young adult men from 1984 to 1994. The not-so-good Father is accused of trying to seduce several of his young male students in Life Teen, which sometimes climaxed (bad Bird pun intended) with the monsignor's getting naked for the boys.
While most Arizonans awaiting this kind of trial are doing so on a cot while lunching on green bologna, Fushek gets to stay at his own pad. Yet this is still too much for the frisky friar. Apparently, being trapped anyplace other than the House of the Lord is cramping Fushek's style -- and God knows this guy has loads of that, what with the Jaguar, the hot tub and the taut, nubile boys who budded into manhood beneath his gentle, guiding hand.
Fushek's defense attorney argues that his client can't minister to his flock outside parish grounds, and that he misses attending church. What his horny Holiness seems to be missing, in fact, is that he'd have all kinds of parishioners and a nice little chapel if he'd been sent where he belongs: the Maricopa County Jail.
This will never happen; bad priests seldom get more than a slap on the wrist, if that. And, on second thought, maybe it shouldn't. Fushek, it appears from the charges, is little more than a soft-core flirt. The real pervs at Durango would certainly rip him a new one.
But the powers that be need to make darn sure that Fushek at least remains under "electronic" house arrest, because every time a priest accused of sexual misconduct has been set free around here, he's run for the hills -- of Mexico, of Ireland, of Italy.
Just last month, cops finally tracked down Joseph Cervantez Briceno, a priest indicted in 2003 in Maricopa County on eight counts of sex crimes involving minors. According to the County Attorney's Office, Briceno was found south of Calexico, California, through the joint effort of authorities from Nevada, California, Arizona and Mexico. In other words, this was no small-time manhunt.
Two other fugitive Valley priests remain at large: Joseph Henn, who's hiding out in Italy, and The Bird's personal favorite among these flighty friars, Patrick Colleary, who dodged the law by running off to his Irish homeland.
And speaking of running, let's don't forget Fushek's mentor, Bishop Thomas O'Brien, who, while racing away from responsibility in a cover-up of predator priests, ran over and killed a pedestrian and then -- surprise! --took flight.
In fact, the only suspect/priest who's not running from the Valley is Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the notoriously shady figure known as God's Banker; a fellow who has no intention of leaving Sun City -- in good part because he's wanted in Italy to answer questions about the murder of an old friend and banking partner, Roberto Calvi. Before coming to Sun City, Marcinkus hid in the Vatican to avoid answering questions about the Vatican Bank scandal.
If you ask The Bird, Valley priests with legal problems have proven to be a greater flight risk than a Mexican car thief with 17 aliases. Which should give Judge Samuel Goodman pause when considering Fushek's house-arrest issue.
The Bird's sure that Fushek's sad that he wouldn't be allowed to appear during halftime of a Phoenix Suns game (like he did last year, when, despite the sordid allegations he faced, he was invited to give the benediction at late coach Cotton Fitzsimmons' induction into the team's Ring of Honor), but fuck his hurt feelings.
This extended middle finger's pretty sure that's what Jesus would say.
Reality Bites Phoenix
The Bird's always wanted to make it big on TV. This winged wonder knows if it could get just one lucky break, it would be the most outrageous avian all-star to hit the boob tube since, well, Big Bird.
Meanwhile, it decided to take its chances at the latest casting call for game shows and reality TV programs that went down locally during a recent weekend.
The Valley's been a hotbed for reality TV stars, with an endless stream of TV types jetting over from Hollyweird to our parched plain in search of local "talent" (read: big tits and tiny brains) for some reality show or other. So far, Phoenix has already produced such pretend stars as former Catholic schoolteacher Randi Coy (who embarrassed herself like mad on My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé) and Scottsdale scenester Jon Buehler (who ran his ass off on The Amazing Race 6).
Survivor, which The Bird knows you know is the program that sends Ugly Americans to foreign countries for glorified camping trips, has already claimed the likes of Channel 5 reporter Tammy Leitner; Dobson High School alum Shii Ann Huang; cutie-pie bartender Robert Zbacnik; and now Tempe financial salesman Nick Stanbury, who stars on Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island, debuting Thursday, February 2, on CBS.
Last week's Survivor audition was packed with the usual wanna-be Gilligans, each of whom got two minutes to convince the cameras that they deserve a shot at eating bugs and getting naked for 50 million people each week. The Bird was wowed by the bizarre vaudevillian talents displayed by a Russian immigrant who read a diatribe on U.S. foreign policy; a hippy-dippy music teacher who belted Destiny's Child's "I'm a Survivor"; a former pro wrestler who did rooster calls; and a bored housewife who recited all 50 states in alphabetical order.
But this feathered fiend was rooting for Isaiah Moore, a 26-year-old waiter who confided, "I think I'm pretty enough to be on Survivor. Who wouldn't like watching me run around with my shirt off? And can I lie, cheat and backstab my way to victory? Absolutely. I do that for tips every day."
And there was ruthless hottie Aaron Wolfley, a 22-year-old geological science student at Mesa Community College who spent far too long bleating to The Bird about his devotion to Mormonism and about how he'd have no problem screwing his opponents if he becomes a Survivor contestant.
"I couldn't care less about any of the other people on the island," the good little Mormon swore. In fact, he told The Bird, the church hierarchy would probably be rooting him to victory, since they'll get a 10 percent cut of his winnings.
Next, The Bird swooped down on the posh Phoenician Resort where various nerds and brainiacs gathered to take their shot at landing a spot on Jeopardy!.
There, The Bird met Sarah King, a 19-year-old know-it-all and Arizona State University physical anthropology major who claims she bones up on her Jeopardy! trivia "with dead people, because that's who I work with." Macabre.
But The Bird's personal fave rave was 36-year-old Graham Reilly, an unemployed pharmaceutical salesman who turned up for his audition in shorts, flip-flops and a basketball jersey.
"I had a couple cocktails at the bar just to loosen myself up," Reilly bragged. "I didn't think there was a dress code today, and I'm never comfortable in a suit and tie. Maybe it'll help me stand out and get on the show. I need some money."
The Bird will take Drunken Delusions for $800, Alex.