SNAP Points Out Fatal Flaw in Church-Run Investigations

Catholic officials in Rome have opened an abuse investigation into a New York prelate who three months ago they had selected to lead an abuse investigation of his own. This situation is a clear example of the need for external, secular investigations instead of church-run ones.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was accused of abuse in a lawsuit filed in November of last year, alleging that he had abused a boy while he was a priest in Jersey City. That accusation came after Bishop DiMarzio had been tapped by Vatican officials to lead an investigation into Bishop Richard Malone, the former head of the Diocese of Buffalo who resigned in December in disgrace.

The fact that a Bishop accused of abuse was the man investigating another Bishop’s cover-up abuse is a clear example of why internal, church-run investigations cannot be counted on to get to the bottom of clergy abuse crimes and cover-ups. Too many prelates – as many as 130 sitting bishops, according to a Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer investigation – have been accused of mishandling abuse allegations or being abusers themselves for internal investigations to have any merit. There is an obvious need for oversight and investigations to come from external, secular sources.

New York A.G. Letitia James in New York is investigating cases of clergy abuse in her state. We hope that her office will pay attention to this news and will undertake its own investigation of the claims against Bishop DiMarzio rather than rely on a Vatican-led inquiry. It is her office that will lead to transparency in New York, not work done in Rome.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

 (SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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