'Michael Cohen Of Brooklyn Diocese' Faces Own Sex Abuse Suit
By Kathleen Culliton
September 10, 2019
|Monsignor Otto Garcia, currently a parochial vicar in Queens, is accused of molesting a child in the 1970s and covering up other abuses.|
Monsignor Otto Garcia, currently a parochial vicar in Queens, is accused of molesting a child in the 1970s and covering up other abuses.
The "Michael Cohen of the Brooklyn Diocese" who allegedly worked as a fixer for pedophile priests himself stands accused of child sex abuse by people deeply concerned that he continues to practice in Queens.
Thomas Davis and an anonymous accuser have filed child sex abuse suits against Monsignor Otto Garcia — accused by a Diocese nun of covering up at least three child sex abuse investigations — who currently serves as parochial vicar at the Church of St. Teresa in Woodside, according to his accuser, attorneys and reports.
"I was molested by father Otto Garcia when I was a child," Davis said at a press conference Tuesday. "He was able to pick me out as a prime victim because my parents were very involved in the church, because I didn't think anyone would believe me."
Garcia is one of 200 Brooklyn Diocese members Davis' lawyers said in a report published Tuesday have been "credibly accused" of child sex abuse – an estimate almost double the 108 identified by the diocese in a report from February.
"If we've discerned there are 200 that have been publicly accused, how many more are there?" said Jeff Anderson of the law firm Anderson & Associates. "How many have come forward who they chose not to believe and remained hidden and secret to this day?"
As vicar general, Garcia — who denied Davis' accusations to the Daily News in February — was tasked with interviewing accusers and accused priests then making recommendations to the local bishops, Anderson said.
But Brooklyn nun Sister Sally Butler told the Daily News Garcia may have used his authority to bury multiple cases, including three she reported herself.
Davis accused Garcia in 2017, more than 40 years after the alleged 1970s attacks, and underwent a two-day Diocesan Review Board investigation, which involved him picking Garcia out of a line-up, he said.
But Davis' claims was ruled not to be credible and the Queens District Attorney's office rejected his case because the statute of limitations had passed, the Daily News was first to report.
Davis is now able to file a civil suit against Garcia under the Child Sex Abuse Act, which launched in August a one-year window for accusers to sexual abuse claims, regardless of the statute.
"I just want to say to anyone out there, it's not to late to step forward," Davis said at his press conference. "Stand up to these monsters."
Meanwhile, Garcia has continued to serve at two Queens churches, at Joan of Arc Parish in Jackson Heights until April 2019, then at the Church of St. Teresa at 50-20 45th St. where he remains, according to Diocese directories.
A woman who answered the phone at St. Teresa told Patch Garcia was not available and directed our inquiry to the Brooklyn Dioceses press office. Patch left a message there requesting comment.
Anderson is calling on Catholic Church officials to remove Garcia from the Woodside Church until his clients claims can be addressed in court.
"Get him out, get him out now," said Anderson. "Bishop, please, it's time."