“I repeat what I have said from the beginning. There is no truth to these allegations. Throughout my more than 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never abused anyone.”
My bishop has been cleared.
This email arrived in my in-box a short time ago, from the Archdiocese of New York:
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican has informed Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, that it has found the allegations of sexual abuse of minors brought twenty-one months ago against The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, “not to have the semblance of truth.” Given this finding, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will not authorize any further canonical process to address the accusations.
Two civil lawsuits have been filed against Bishop DiMarzio alleging that, as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark a half-century ago, he had committed acts of sexual abuse against minors, which Bishop DiMarzio has steadfastly denied.
Cardinal Dolan, as the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Province of New York, was authorized by the Holy See to conduct an investigation into the allegations in accord with Vos Estis Lux Mundi, the norms issued by Pope Francis in 2019 to address allegations of abuse brought against bishops. Cardinal Dolan hired the law firm of Herbert Smith Freehills which, in turn, retained the Freeh Group, headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, to conduct an independent, thorough investigation. The investigation results were submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for its review and determination.
Bishop DiMarzio issued his own statement Wednesday morning, posted on the diocesan website:
Statement by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, today has released the following statement regarding the announcement of the results of the ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi’ investigation into allegations made against him:
“I repeat what I have said from the beginning. There is no truth to these allegations. Throughout my more than 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never abused anyone.
As promised, I fully cooperated with this inquiry, because I know I did nothing wrong. I have prayed for a conclusion to this investigation, and these final results further verify, as I have consistently said, that these allegations have absolutely no merit.
I remain focused on leading the Diocese of Brooklyn as we are emerging from the darkness of the Coronavirus pandemic. I ask for your prayers as I continue to fight against the lawsuits stemming from these two allegations, and as I now look forward to clearing my name in the New Jersey state courts.”
Joseph A. Hayden, Jr. of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden in Hackensack, attorney for Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio stated:
“This decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was rendered after an impartial and rigorous factual investigation conducted by former federal prosecutor John O’Donnell, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, as well as the investigative firm founded by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Both are former law enforcement officials with proven experience and impeccable integrity and the result of their investigation should leave no doubt. As the language of the decision stated, the allegations against Bishop DiMarzio have been found to have no semblance of truth.”
The bishop has consistently denied all the charges and vowed to fight them aggressively:
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is denying a sexual abuse allegation made by a Florida man who filed a lawsuit on Feb. 17 against the Archdiocese of Newark and the bishop. The man claims Bishop DiMarzio, who was then a priest in New Jersey, abused him when he was a child — more than 40 years ago.
“I did not abuse the accuser or anyone else in my 50-year-ministry as a priest. This is defamatory,” Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement on Feb. 22. “False claims do real damage to victims of sexual abuse.”
The bishop’s attorney, Joseph Hayden, also issued a statement vowing never to settle the case.
“The allegation is untrue,” Hayden said, “and the bishop looks forward to trying this case before a jury of his peers.”
The plaintiff, Samier Tadros, 47, filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Essex County. Tadros, who now lives in Daytona Beach, Florida, charged that the abuse took place from 1978 to 1980 in Holy Rosary Church in the Archdiocese of Newark. At the time, Bishop DiMarzio lived in the parish and, in court documents, Tadros contended that he was receiving one-on-one religious instruction from him.
Bishop DiMarzio disputed all contentions made by Tadros.
“The accuser did not attend the parish or the parish school and does not appear to have been Catholic,” he stated. “Anyone with a minimal understanding of parish life knows that it stretches the imagination to think a priest would be providing private catechism lessons to a non-Catholic six or seven-year-old on a one-to-one basis.”
Besides, according to Bishop DiMarzio, he would not have been offering religious instruction in any event because his duties were focused elsewhere.
“Additionally, I simply resided at the parish in question as I was assigned by the Archdiocese of Newark to minister full-time at Catholic Charities,” he said.