By Michelle Powers
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 lawsuit alleges Bishop DiMarzio and a second priest, now dead, repeatedly abused Mark Matzek as a child at St. Nicholas Church in New Jersey in the 1970s.
In response, the Archdiocese of Newark is saying they have reported these allegations to law enforcement. Garabedian is demanding twenty million in compensation.
These accusations come on the heels of Bishop DiMarzio completing his Vatican appointed examination into the Bishop of Buffalo for allegations that Richard Malone failed to report abusive priests.
The conclusions of this fact-finding mission have yet to be released.
Before this moment, Bishop DiMarzio has been recognized as a national leader in taking steps to protect children.
In his own diocese, he established the Office of Victim Assistance, which helps individuals come forward with their own allegations of abuse.
He also established a toll free and confidential sexual abuse reporting line.
In addition, every employee for the diocese, including students, is required to undergo training to prevent and identify abuse.
Bishop DiMarzio has met with many survivors and the Diocese of Brooklyn holds a yearly Mass of Hope and Healing.
This past year, Bishop DiMarzio held a series of regional meetings throughout his diocese to allow for candid questions.
And last February, DiMarzio authorized the release of the names of 108 priests credibly accused of child abuse over the Diocese of Brooklyn’s 166-year history.
Bishop DiMarzio is vowing to vigorously defend himself against what he calls “false allegations.”