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Brooklyn bishop accused by second man of sex abuse

FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, file photo shows Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio as Pope Francis, right, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. DiMarzio, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man who says he was molested in the 1970s. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Roman Catholic bishop of Brooklyn, already under a church investigation for alleged sex abuse, has been accused by a second man of abuse in the 1970s, when the bishop was a parish priest in New Jersey.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio “repeatedly sexually abused” Samier Tadros starting when he was about 6 years old, according to a March 9 letter that Tadros’ lawyer sent to the attorney representing the Archdiocese of Newark. The letter alleges the abuse happened in Holy Rosary Church in Jersey City.

DiMarzio has previously denied the accusations made by the first accuser. In a statement to The Associated Press, he also denied the accusation leveled by Tadros. “There is absolutely no truth to this allegation,” he said. “This is clearly another attempt to destroy my name and discredit what I have accomplished in my service to God and His people.”

Joseph Hayden, DiMarzio’s attorney, said in an email to the AP, “We have uncovered conclusive evidence of Bishop DiMarzio’s innocence.” Hayden declined to share the evidence with the AP.

DiMarzio’s case has drawn interest because it is among the first conducted according to procedures Pope Francis issued under a new church law that went into effect last June.

The procedures — known in Latin as Vos Estis Lux Mundi, or You are the Light of the World — were issued in an apostolic letter that addresses how the church will handle claims against bishops and other ranking church officials accused of abuse or covering it up. The rules direct archbishops to lead the investigation of an accused bishop in his jurisdiction. In this case the archbishop of New York is Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney for both of DiMarzio’s accusers, told the AP that Tadros stepped forward after hearing from a family member that another man, 57-year-old Mark Matzek, had accused DiMarzio. Matzek also accused the late Rev. Albert Mark of sexually abusing him in the mid-1970s, when both priests were assigned to St. Nicholas Church, also in Jersey City.

The two men live in different states, Garabedian said, and have never met. “We have two separate, discreet claims,” he said.

Tadros, now 46, has demanded $20 million in compensation. Hayden said, “Bishop DiMarzio will never agree to a settlement of these claims.”

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