The Brooklyn Fixer

A Queens pastor and Vicar General for three bishops who was tasked with investigating cases of sexual abuse has himself been accused of sexual abuse. We are grateful to the victim for coming forward and exposing this apparent “fox in the henhouse” situation.

Msgr. Otto Garcia has been named in two separate lawsuits that were able to be filed Tuesday thanks to New York’s Child Victims Act. Without this important law, it is likely that the information about Msgr. Garcia would still be hidden from public view. For years the monsignor has been in the perfect position to control and cover-up cases of abuse.

As Vicar General for the Diocese of Brooklyn, Msgr. Garcia was able to play a “fixer” role as he was the main person designated by three separate bishops to investigate reports of abuse. Notably, Garcia had been accused of abuse earlier, but the diocesan review board found the allegations “unsubstantiated.” Now that two people have come forward, we hope that the lay review board will not only revisit their previous finding but also release the records of that internal investigation to the public. This is the only way that the Diocese of Brooklyn can show that Msgr. Garcia did not interfere in this investigation.

Sadly, we do not anticipate that this step will be taken. Church officials at the Diocese of Brooklyn are instead circling the wagons around Msgr. Garcia in an obvious violation of their “zero-tolerance” policy on abuse. We can only wonder how many other violations of the Dallas Charter have occurred in Brooklyn.

AG Letitia James is currently investigating cases of clergy abuse in New York and we hope that her office is paying special attention to this case. We also hope that parishioners and the public in Brooklyn will be outraged by this news and will contact AG James’ office with any information related to cases of clergy sexual abuse or other wrongdoing. Survivors, witnesses, and whistleblowers can aid the AG investigation by calling into her hotline at 1-800-771-7755 or by making a confidential report on her website.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP 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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