Watch Evening News weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET.
BROOKLYN, NY. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A New York bishop assigned by Pope Francis to investigate sex abuse cover-up in Buffalo is being accused of sex abuse.
On Monday an accusation against Bp. Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, was made public by the Associated Press. DiMarzio is being accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in Jersey City, New Jersey, in the 1970's. The alleged victim, 56-year-old Mark Matzek, is being represented by prominent Boston-based sex abuse lawyer Mitchell Garabedian and is seeking $20 million in damages.
Matzek claims DiMarzio and another priest, now-deceased Albert Mark, repeatedly abused him when he was an 11-year-old altar boy at St. Nicholas Church nearly 40 years ago.
The lawsuit will be filed on December 1, the date when New Jersey rolls back its statute of limitations on sexual abuse, called a look-back window in state law.
DiMarzio responded on Wednesday, asserting, "I am just learning about 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."
In October, Pope Francis appointed DiMarzio to investigate the scandal-ridden diocese of Buffalo. The announcement described the investigation as "a non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality."
DiMarzio commented, "This is a difficult period in the life of the church in Buffalo," adding, "I pledge I will keep an open mind throughout the process and do my best to learn the facts and gain a thorough understanding of the situation in order to fulfill the mandate of this Apostolic Visitation."
The whole process, including interviews of over 80 victims and witnesses, was concluded in less than a month.
Garabedian commented, "The investigation of the diocese of Buffalo by Bishop DiMarzio is tainted because of these allegations," adding, "There needs to be a truly neutral investigator to determine whether Bishop Malone should resign."
Writing to the New York Times, he further stated, "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." He noted that DiMarzio should "be immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation."
DiMarzio has connections to the disgraced homosexual predator ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, he worked under McCarrick and was consecrated bishop by him in 1996. He was, however, McCarrick's auxiliary for less than three years before being promoted in 1999 to lead the diocese of Camden, New Jersey.
Since auxiliary bishops typically work under that status for at least six years, it's been suggested that McCarrick fast tracked DiMarzio.
In his Tuesday statement, DiMarzio maintained, "I have worked and will continue to work tirelessly to purge sexual abuse from our diocese in Brooklyn and Queens."
In February, he issued a letter outlining his efforts to address clerical sex abuse in the diocese of Brooklyn by establishing a victim hotline, compensation program. In 2018 it was part of a $27.5 million settlement payout to four male victims.
DiMarzio submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis in June upon his 75th birthday. Pope Francis, however, has yet to accept the resignation.