When It Comes to Bishop DiMarzio, Did the AP Do Its Job?

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Media, Queens, NY

Currents News Staff 

The Bishop of Brooklyn is strongly refuting allegations that he molested an altar boy almost half a century ago.

“I am just learning of 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.

The Associated Press broke the story that a suit may be filed next month by the law offices of Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney best known for representing sexual abuse victims in Boston during the clerical abuse crisis in 2002.

The story is solely based on the allegation of the lawyer who hasn’t yet gone to court to back up the claim.

Mitchell Garabedian is also involved in representing people in the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop DiMarzio was selected by the Vatican to lead the apostolic visitation there to examine claims that Bishop Richard Malone failed to report sexual abuse. 

Garabedian represents Bishop Malone’s former secretary, the whistleblower who leaked records from the diocese’s archives. She’s been active in protests calling for Bishop Malone’s resignation.

At the same time, Garabedian is suing the Diocese of Buffalo for $300 million on behalf of another woman who’s claiming she was abused by a priest in the seventies and eighties.

When the AP published the story of the accusation against Bishop DiMarzio Nov. 13, Garabedian said, “It is time for the police to investigate the investigator. The investigation should include questioning Pope Francis about his appointment of the bishop as investigator.”

That said, Garabedian hasn’t even filed that lawsuit yet. 

The New York Times also did a story, but hardly did any original reporting, relying heavily on the AP version. 

In both accounts, there is not a lot of context: nothing about the whistleblower that Garabedian represents, nothing about his lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo and no background about Bishop DiMarzio’s national leadership in protecting children from abuse.

Mike Rizzo, the director of the journalism program at Saint John’s University, joins Currents News to discuss ethical reporting.