BOROUGHWIDE — Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn say they’re standing firmly with victims of childhood sexual abuse. Following the passage of the New York State Child Victim’s Act, DiMarzio expressed his support for all sex abuse victims.
“We have reached this point because too many victims across society have sadly carried this heavy cross for far too long. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime, and victim-survivors now have a new avenue to seek redress through the Child Victims Act,” said DiMarzio.
“For anyone abused by a priest, employee or volunteer — I am sorry that a member of our church who you trusted became the source of pain and anguish,” continued DiMarzio.
“You should know the Diocese of Brooklyn has instituted the most aggressive policies to prevent any future abuse and to protect children.”
DiMarzio said that the Diocese has worked with survivors on various programs. “Our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program has settled with nearly 500 victims. It is our hope and intention to continue the IRCP,” said DiMarzio.
“Our various support groups and our yearly Mass of Hope and Healing highlight our commitment. I have also personally met with victim-survivors to hear their heart-wrenching stories,” he added.
DiMarzio held a healing mass in Bensonhurst on April 30 at Saint Athanasius Church.
This past February, the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese released a list of over 100 priests in the diocese who had credible charges of sexual abuse leveled against them or had died prior to the allegations being fully investigated. The list spanned the 166-year history of the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese.
To date, the Diocese of Brooklyn has worked with nearly 500 victims and has paid over $90 million in settlements.
According to the Diocese, they provide independent licensed therapists and support groups to help victim-survivors through the healing process.
The Diocese said that a number of significant programs have been instituted to prevent future abuse and to protect children. They include a zero tolerance policy which states that any clergy member credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is permanently removed from ministry.
The Diocese also explained that it conducts initial and ongoing background checks of all employees and volunteers and provides age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness training for children and adults.
Over 82,000 adults have been trained in sexual abuse awareness, including all clergy, teachers, parish and academy/school employees, catechists and volunteers who work directly with children.