Alleged abuse victim of Brooklyn bishop files civil lawsuit

Trenton, N.J., Feb 23, 2021 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- An alleged abuse victim who last year went public with allegations against the Bishop of Brooklyn has now filed a lawsuit in a New Jersey court, claiming that the bishop abused him repeatedly in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has denied all claims against him, calling the accusations “defamatory.”

The lawsuit concerns allegations that Samier Tadros, who now lives in Florida and says he was six years old at the time of the abuse, made public during summer 2020.

The Associated Press reported last June that Tadros had accused DiMarzio of sexual abuse, allegedly committed while DiMarzio was a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Newark.

Tadros, 47, asserts in the lawsuit that the abuse occurred when DiMarzio was giving him “instruction in Catholic doctrine and the Catholic faith” at Holy Rosary parish in Jersey City, where DiMarzio was assigned while a parish priest, in 1979 and 1980.

DiMarzio is already the subject of a Vatican ordered Vos estis investigation, following an allegation made during November 2019.

Mark Matzek alleges that DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Newark in the 1970s.

The first allegation was made shortly after DiMarzio himself concluded a Vatican-ordered investigation of the Buffalo diocese which was mired in scandal and accusations of then-diocesan Bishop Richard Malone mishandling sexual abuse claims. Matzek has not filed a civil lawsuit.

DiMarzio denied the claims of both alleged victims when they were made public, and said he welcomes the investigations.

“This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people, including my efforts to fight the scourge of sexual abuse,” DiMarzio said in a statement last year.

DiMarzio’s lawyer, Joseph Hayden, said at the time that “Both allegations against my client are more than 40 years old, and the accusers are each seeking 20-million dollars from the Newark Archdiocese. We have been investigating these claims and we have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.”

In response to the February 2021 lawsuit, DiMarzio again denied the allegations, calling them “defamatory” and claiming that Tadros did not attend the parish or the parish school, and that he “does not appear to have been Catholic.”

“Anyone with a minimal understanding of parish life knows that it stretches the imagination to think a priest would be providing private catechism lessons to a non-Catholic six or seven-year-old on a one-to-one basis,” DiMarzio asserted in a Feb. 22 statement.

DiMarzio also asserted that he “simply resided at the parish in question as I was assigned by the Archdiocese of Newark to minister full-time at Catholic Charities.”

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, widely known for providing legal representation to clerical sexual abuse victims, is representing both accusers.

Garabedian told NorthJersey.com that he could not comment about certain aspects of the case not mentioned in the lawsuit, but asserted that “Bishop DiMarzio was teaching [Tadros] to be a Catholic.”

New Jersey during December 2019 suspended the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse lawsuits for two years, leading to the filing of hundreds of lawsuits.

In January 2020, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Bishop DiMarzio’s metropolitan archbishop, announced that the Vatican had instructed him to begin an investigation into the first accusation made against DiMarzio by Matzek.

Dolan’s investigation is proceeding under the norms of Vos estis lux mundi, a law promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019, which provides for accusations of abuse or related misconduct against a bishop to be undertaken on behalf of the Holy See by the local metropolitan.

Dolan has retained a risk management company founded by former FBI director Louis Freeh to assist in the investigation.

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