Alleged Abuse Victim of Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio Files Civil Lawsuit

Tadros, 47, asserts in the lawsuit that the abuse occurred when Bishop DiMarzio was giving him “instruction in Catholic doctrine and the Catholic faith" at Holy Rosary parish in Jersey City, where Bishop DiMarzio was assigned while a parish priest, in 1979 and 1980.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn. (photo: Diocese of Brooklyn)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — An alleged abuse victim who last year went public with allegations against the Bishop of Brooklyn has now filed a lawsuit in a New Jersey court, claiming that the bishop abused him repeatedly in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has denied all claims against him, calling the accusations “defamatory.”

The lawsuit concerns allegations that Samier Tadros, who now lives in Florida and says he was six years old at the time of the abuse, made public during summer 2020.

The Associated Press reported last June that Tadros had accused Bishop DiMarzio of sexual abuse, allegedly committed while Bishop DiMarzio was a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Newark.

Tadros, 47, asserts in the lawsuit that the abuse occurred when Bishop DiMarzio was giving him “instruction in Catholic doctrine and the Catholic faith" at Holy Rosary parish in Jersey City, where Bishop DiMarzio was assigned while a parish priest, in 1979 and 1980.

Bishop DiMarzio is already the subject of a Vatican ordered Vos estis investigation, following an allegation made during November 2019.

Mark Matzek alleges that Bishop DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Newark in the 1970s.

The first allegation was made shortly after Bishop DiMarzio himself concluded a Vatican-ordered investigation of the Buffalo diocese which was mired in scandal and accusations of then-diocesan Bishop Richard Malone mishandling sexual abuse claims. Matzek has not filed a civil lawsuit.

Bishop DiMarzio denied the claims of both alleged victims when they were made public, and said he welcomes the investigations.

“This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people, including my efforts to fight the scourge of sexual abuse,” Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement last year.

Bishop DiMarzio’s lawyer, Joseph Hayden, said at the time that “Both allegations against my client are more than 40 years old, and the accusers are each seeking 20-million dollars from the Newark Archdiocese. We have been investigating these claims and we have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.”

In response to the February 2021 lawsuit, Bishop DiMarzio again denied the allegations, calling them “defamatory” and claiming that Tadros did not attend the parish or the parish school, and that he “does not appear to have been Catholic.”

“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,” Bishop DiMarzio asserted in a Feb. 22 statement.

Bishop DiMarzio also asserted that he “simply resided at the parish in question as I was assigned by the Archdiocese of Newark to minister full-time at Catholic Charities.”

Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, widely known for providing legal representation to clerical sexual abuse victims, is representing both accusers.

Garabedian told NorthJersey.com that he could not comment about certain aspects of the case not mentioned in the lawsuit, but asserted that “Bishop DiMarzio was teaching [Tadros] to be a Catholic.”

New Jersey during December 2019 suspended the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse lawsuits for two years, leading to the filing of hundreds of lawsuits.

In January 2020, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, Bishop DiMarzio’s metropolitan archbishop, announced that the Vatican had instructed him to begin an investigation into the first accusation made against Bishop DiMarzio by Matzek.

Cardinal Dolan’s investigation is proceeding under the norms of Vos estis lux mundi, a law promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019, which provides for accusations of abuse or related misconduct against a bishop to be undertaken on behalf of the Holy See by the local metropolitan.

Cardinal Dolan has retained a risk management company founded by former FBI director Louis Freeh to assist in the investigation.

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

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