Vatican orders Cardinal Dolan to probe Bishop DiMarzio sex abuse allegation

By Sara Dorn
New York Post
January 18, 2020

Pope Francis embraces Cardinal Timothy Dolan during vespers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York in 2015.

Bishop DiMarzio

The Vatican has ordered Timothy Cardinal Dolan to probe allegations that Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sexually abused an altar boy at a New Jersey church in the 1970s, The Post has learned.

On Jan. 7, “the Cardinal received instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he is to begin an investigation. As is our practice, the Cardinal will rely on outside professional forensic investigators to assist him in this matter,” said New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling.

“Cardinal Dolan earlier notified the Holy See of the allegation that was raised concerning Bishop DiMarzio from his time as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Allegations against DiMarzio were launched in November, when Mark Matzek, now 56, publicly accused the 75-year-old bishop of molesting him while he was an 11-year-old altar boy and student at St. Nicholas Church and School in Jersey City.

Matzek’s lawyer Mitchell Garabedian — who is depicted in the “Spotlight” film about sex abuse by priests in Boston — notified church officials in New Jersey that he was preparing a lawsuit against DiMarzio, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, which first reported the accusation.

DiMarzio has firmly denied the claim.

“In my nearly 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never engaged in unlawful or inappropriate behavior and I categorically deny this allegation,” DiMarzio previously said in a statement. “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.”

Garabedian on Friday urged investigators to conduct the investigation in “a thorough, fair and impartial manner.”

Dolan, who often works closely with DiMarzio, was tapped to lead the investigation in his capacity as Archbishop, which oversees New York’s eight dioceses.

The body who ordered the probe, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog arm charged with handling sex abuse cases.

DiMarzio, appointed by Pope John Paul II to lead the Brooklyn Diocese in 2003, has led sexual misconduct investigations similar to the one he is embroiled in.

Two weeks before Matzek’s allegations emerged, DiMarzio concluded an investigation of the Buffalo diocese’s handling of sexual abuse cases. Garabedian called the Buffalo probe “tainted” in light of Matzek’s claims.

In February last year, the diocese DiMarzio leads announced it had identified more than 100 priests who sexually abused children. DiMarzio sympathized with those victims in a statement at the time: “We know this list will generate many emotions for victims who have suffered terribly. For their suffering, I am truly sorry.”

The Brooklyn Diocese pointed to DiMarzio’s work on sexual abuse claims in a statement about the investigation.

“Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church,” the diocese said in a statement. “Bishop DiMarzio looks forward to the investigation of the allegation made against him and having his good name cleared and restored.”

Vatican rules do not require DiMarzio to aside during a “preliminary investigation,” a spokesperson for the diocese said.


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