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Bishop Investigating Sex Abuse Accused Of Molesting Altar Boy In Jersey City

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Photo Credit: Diocese of Brooklyn

The bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Brooklyn has been accused of molesting an altar boy while he served as a priest in Jersey City four decades ago.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio released a statement Wednesday in response to the allegation, first reported by the Associated Press, that he assaulted the boy while serving as a priest at St. Nicholas Church in the 1970s. In his statement, he flatly denied the charge and vowed to contest it.

"I am just learning about this allegation," he said he told the Associated Press. "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 exonerated."

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark told The New York Times it had received a letter from an attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, stating that he was preparing a lawsuit on behalf of Mark Matzek, 56, who served as an altar boy at the church and was a student at St. Nicholas School. Matzek says he was repeatedly abused by DiMarzio and another priest, Albert Mark, who is dead.

DiMarzio was recently appointed by Pope Francis to investigate how clergy sex abuse claims in the Buffalo, N.Y., diocese were being handled. He completed that investigation Oct. 31 and will release a report on his findings. DiMarzio was also involved in settling clergy abuse claims in the Brooklyn diocese.

DiMarzio, who was born in Newark, was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark in 1970 and once served as the  director of the Office of Migration of Newark’s Catholic Community Services. .

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