Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
The victim alleges that the Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio (c.) and a second priest repeatedly abused him when he was an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church and a student at St. Nicholas School in Jersey City in the mid-1970s.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The Bishop of Brooklyn, who has been weathering a torrent of lawsuits and probes into priests assigned to Queens and Brooklyn parishes that stand accused of sexually abusing children, has been publically accused of the same crime, according to a recent Associated Press report.
The attorney representing the accuser informed Catholic officials in New Jersey that he’s prepping a lawsuit on behalf of the client who claims he was molested by the Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio in the mid-1970s, when DiMarzio was a parish priest at St. Nicholas in Jersey City.
“I am just learning about this allegation. In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I emphatically deny this allegation. I am confident I will be fully vindicated,” DiMarzio said in a statement to the AP that was printed in a letter from the bishop to DOB parishioners. The letter was made available on the diocesan website and in parish bulletins.
“There will be a legal process now and I will vigorously defend myself against this false allegation,” DiMarzio wrote. “I am confident I will be fully exonerated.”
Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian has said that his client, Mark Matzek, 56, “alleges he was repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and a second priest, the late Rev. Albert Mark, when he was an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church and a student at St. Nicholas School,” according to the AP.
Garabedian plans to file the suit, which seeks $20 million in compensation, next month.
In February, DiMarzio and the diocese released a list of 108 members of the clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. By credible, diocesan officials believe that the allegations may be true.
The list spans the 166-year history of the DOB, and contains names of clergy who have been convicted, who have admitted to sexual misconduct with a minor, or have had allegations determined credible by the Independent Diocesan Review Board.
The list features the names of priests who were assigned to such borough Catholic education institutions as Archbishop Molloy High School, St. Francis Preparatory School, and Christ the King High School; and Queens parishes, including St. Helen in Howard Beach, St. Camillus in Rockaway Beach, and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park.
“It is my hope that the publishing of this list will provide some assistance to those who are continuing the difficult process of healing, as well as encourage other victims to come forward,” DiMarzio wrote in a “Letter to the Faithful” released on the same day. “Sexual abuse is a heinous, sinful crime and we as a diocese are committed to remaining vigilant against such abuse.”
DiMarzio also noted that he has “met with many victims who have told me that more than anything they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them. This list gives that recognition and I hope it will add another layer of healing for them on their journey toward wholeness.”