WINDSOR TERRACE — Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is denying a sexual abuse allegation made by a Florida man who filed a lawsuit on Feb. 17 against the Archdiocese of Newark and the bishop. The man claims Bishop DiMarzio, who was then a priest in New Jersey, abused him when he was a child — more than 40 years ago.
“I did not abuse the accuser or anyone else in my 50-year-ministry as a priest. This is defamatory,” Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement on Feb. 22. “False claims do real damage to victims of sexual abuse.”
The bishop’s attorney, Joseph Hayden, also issued a statement vowing never to settle the case.
“The allegation is untrue,” Hayden said, “and the bishop looks forward to trying this case before a jury of his peers.”
The plaintiff, Samier Tadros, 47, filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Essex County. Tadros, who now lives in Daytona Beach, Florida, charged that the abuse took place from 1978 to 1980 in Holy Rosary Church in the Archdiocese of Newark. At the time, Bishop DiMarzio lived in the parish and, in court documents, Tadros contended that he was receiving one-on-one religious instruction from him.
Bishop DiMarzio disputed all contentions made by Tadros.
“The accuser did not attend the parish or the parish school and does not appear to have been Catholic,” he stated. “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.”
Besides, according to Bishop DiMarzio, he would not have been offering religious instruction in any event because his duties were focused elsewhere.
“Additionally, I simply resided at the parish in question as I was assigned by the Archdiocese of Newark to minister full-time at Catholic Charities,” he said.
Tadros first made his accusation public in March 2020 through one of his attorneys, Mitchell Garabedian, who announced at that time the intention to file a lawsuit. Garabedian has become well known for filing numerous lawsuits against dioceses across the U.S. Tadros indicated that he would seek $20 million.
Under new Vatican procedures for bishop accountability, known as Vos Estis Lux Mundi, any allegation of abuse against a bishop must be investigated. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in his capacity as the metropolitan Archbishop of New York, which oversees the other dioceses within the province, conducted a canonical investigation into Bishop DiMarzio.
When the investigation was announced, Cardinal Dolan said outside investigators would be responsible for reviewing the allegations. The Archdiocese of New York retained New York attorney John O’Donnell and the law firm of Herbert Smith Freehills to conduct the investigation. The law firm hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct the third-party investigation.
The results of that probe have been sent to the Vatican, which has yet to release its findings.
“The allegations in the lawsuit against Bishop DiMarzio never happened. When the letter of claim was first submitted to the Archdiocese of Newark last March, Bishop DiMarzio agreed to take a lie detector test on this matter, and his categorical denial of the claim was found to be truthful by an independent retired law-enforcement polygrapher of national stature,” Hayden said.
Tadros is the second person making a claim against Bishop DiMarzio. In November of 2019, while Bishop DiMarzio was conducting an apostolic visit to the Diocese of Buffalo to look into claims of mismanagement, Garabedian announced he was representing a 57-year-old man named Mark Matzek who intended to file suit. Matzek charged that the bishop abused him in the 1970s when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Church in Jersey City. Bishop DiMarzio has vehemently denied that allegation.
At the time, Garabedian was representing several lawsuits against the Diocese of Buffalo. The Matzek lawsuit was not filed, although Garabedian said Monday that he is currently preparing the suit. “We expect to file within the next 30 days,” he said.