SNAP Points Out Fatal Flaw in Church-Run Investigations


January 22, 2020

Catholic officials in Rome have opened an abuse investigation into a New York prelate who three months ago they had selected to lead an abuse investigation of his own. This situation is a clear example of the need for external, secular investigations instead of church-run ones.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November of last year, alleging that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. That accusation came after Bishop DiMarzio had been tapped by Vatican officials to lead an investigation into Bishop Richard Malone, the former head of the Diocese of Buffalo who resigned in December in disgrace.

The fact that a Bishop accused of abuse was the man investigating another Bishop’s cover-up abuse is a clear example of why internal, church-run investigations cannot be counted on to get to the bottom of clergy abuse crimes and cover-ups. Too many prelates – as many as 130 sitting bishops, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer investigation – have been accused of mishandling abuse allegations or being abusers themselves for internal investigations to have any merit. There is an obvious need for oversight and investigations to come from external, secular sources.

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