BALTIMORE (CNS) — After an attorney threatened to file a lawsuit alleging he abused a child decades ago when he was a priest in New Jersey, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, issued a statement Nov. 13 denying the accusation and said he “will vigorously defend” himself against the claim.
“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 categorically deny this allegation. I am confident I will be fully vindicated,” Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement to Catholics of the diocese.
The allegation came to light as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrapped up the public portion of its fall meeting in Baltimore. Bishop DiMarzio is currently in Rome with the other bishops of New York for their “ad limina” visits. The bishops were due to meet the pope Nov. 14 or 15 and were scheduled to be in Rome until Nov. 16.
The Associated Press published a story Nov. 13 relating an accusation dating to the time the bishop was a priest at St. Nicholas Parish in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the 1970s. A native of Newark, he was ordained a priest for the Newark Archdiocese in 1970.
“There will be a legal process now and I will vigorously defend myself against this false allegation,” Bishop DiMarzio said in the statement. “I am confident I will be fully exonerated.”
In his statement, he said sexual abuse is “a despicable crime and since arriving at the diocese in 2003, I have worked and will continue to work tirelessly to purge sexual abuse from our diocese in Brooklyn and Queens.”
“The coming days may become challenging for us as a diocese as I work to defend myself from this false allegation. During this difficult time, I will pray for our diocese and ask for you to remember me in your prayers,” he wrote in the statement addressed to the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens.
In December, the state of New Jersey is scheduled to lift the statute of limitations for a two-year “look back” period that will allow alleged victims of sex abuse to file lawsuits no matter when the alleged abuse occurred.
A spokeswoman for the Newark Archdiocese told The Associated Press the archdiocese has received a letter from the attorney representing the alleged victim and the allegation has been reported to law enforcement as per church protocols.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: El Paso bishop speaks of parishioners’ pain with racism, violence
NEXT: Bishops hear follow-up Encuentro report, commit to plan
Share this story