NEW YORK — An independent investigation ordered by the Vatican cleared Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of sexually abusing two young boys while working in a New Jersey parish nearly a half-century ago, officials announced Wednesday.
The probe, conducted by a former federal prosecutor and a company headed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, found the charges “not to have the semblance of truth,” according to a statement from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The decision was announced by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, who was authorized by the Vatican to launch the investigation.
DiMarzio denied the charges from the outset after he was accused of abusing the youths while working in Jersey City in the mid-1970s.
“I repeat what I have said from the beginning,” DiMarzio said in a statement. “There is no truth to these allegations. Throughout my more than 50-year ministry as a priest, I have never abused anyone. As promised, I fully cooperated with this inquiry, because I know I did nothing wrong.
“I have prayed for a conclusion to this investigation, and these final results further verify, as I have consistently said, that these allegations have absolutely no merit.”
Renowned attorney Mitchell Garebedian, who represented both accusers, questioned the credibility of the decision and said his clients would continue to press their cases.
“The investigators were controlled by and paid for by the Catholic Church,” said the attorney featured in the movie “Spotlight.”
“The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which rendered the decision, is in the business of continuing the secrecy of clergy sexual abuse by hiding the truth,” he added. “My clients will continue to pursue their claims in the civil courts and justice will prevail when the truth is revealed.”
DiMarzio, chosen by Pope Francis to probe the church’s response to clergy sexual abuse in Buffalo, was first hit with an allegation in November 2019 followed just months later by a second accusation. The initial complaint was made by a former altar boy in the Garden State parish.
Both accusers claimed the abuse occurred when DiMarzio was a young priest at Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City. The church investigation was launched under a 2019 directive by the pope to address allegations of sexual abuse brought against bishops.
Attorney Joseph A. Hayden Jr, who represented Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, cited the credentials of the investigators who conducted “an impartial and rigorous factual investigation.”
“The result of their investigation should leave no doubt,” he said. “As the language of the decision stated, the allegations against Bishop DiMarzio have been found to have no semblance of truth.”©2021 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.