|Investigation into Alleged Violation of Child Pornography Laws
Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
January 26, 2010
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has announced that Monsignor Michael Dempsey was placed on administrative leave. The Diocese of Brooklyn was recently informed by Monsignor Dempsey that federal law enforcement is investigating him for the violation of internet child pornography laws.
In a letter to parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, read at the Masses on the weekend (January 23-24), the Bishop said “You are undoubtedly aware of the deep suffering and hurt that surround any matter of child abuse, especially when allegations involve a member of the clergy. It can damage, often irreparably, the innocence, the trust and the reputations of all who are in any way affected by it.” Bishop DiMarzio said the Diocese is committed to fully cooperating with the authorities. Monsignor Dempsey, who served as the Executive Director of Pastoral Communications since 1978, is on administrative leave, meaning he may not perform public priestly ministry.
Bishop DiMarzio’s letter to the parishioners was read by Monsignor Paul Sanchez, the Episcopal Vicar of Queens.
The Bishop removed Monsignor Dempsey immediately upon learning of the investigation. The Diocese conformed to the mandates of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, and the accompanying “Essential Norms,” approved by the Vatican Congregation for Bishops.
“The steps we have taken are essential to maintaining our commitment” to the bishops’ Charter and Norms, the Bishop said. “It is a responsibility we take seriously.”
As a community of the faithful, he said, “I encourage each of us in our resolve to protect our Children and Youth from all forms of child abuse,” he wrote. The Bishop assured the people of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs of a “continued remembrance in his prayers,” and asked for their “prayers for all victims/survivors of abuse, as well as for Monsignor Dempsey.” Bishop DiMarzio extended an invitation to anyone who may have been a victim of clergy sexual abuse to come forward and report the information to the Diocese, using a toll-free number: (888) 634-4499.
The information will be reported to the District Attorney’s Office and the diocesan Victims’ Assistance Coordinator, Amityville Dominican Sister Ellen Patricia Finn, will be contacted “to make appropriate services available,” he said. Sister Ellen Patricia, accompanied by members of the diocesan Healing/Intervention Team, were on hand at Our Lady Queen of Martyr’s Church at this weekends' Masses to meet with parishioners who sought to speak about the action taken regarding Monsignor Dempsey.
“God is clearly in the midst of this parish community,” she said.
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