Church asks Vatican to handle priest case

Church asks Vatican to handle priest case
In 2010, Monsignor Michael Dempsey was placed on administrative leave from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Forest Hills after he was investigated for violating child pornography laws, but never formally charged.
By Joe Anuta

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is appealing to a higher authority in the case of a Forest Hills priest who was stripped of his post last year.

The diocese is asking for a decision from the Vatican in Rome about Monsignor Michael Dempsey, formerly of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, who was investigated for violating child pornography laws in 2010 but never formally charged with a crime.

The diocese released a statement March 31 about Dempsey.

“The issue that resulted in the Rev. Monsignor Michael Dempsey’s placement on administrative leave in 2010 remains unresolved. The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, will seek a final and definitive resolution of his case from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome,” the diocese said.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is a Vatican agency designed to defend the Catholic Church from heresy, according to the department’s web site.

The diocese did not want to comment further about why the matter needed to be handled by Roman members of the clergy.

Calls to the church, at 110-06 Queens Blvd., were referred back to the diocese.

According to a spokeswoman from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Dempsey was investigated in December last year for allegedly looking at child pornography on the Internet, but the investigation was dropped and Dempsey was never charged.

Over the weekend of Jan. 23, Monsignor Paul Sanchez read a statement from DiMarzio about Dempsey and the allegations.

“You are undoubtedly aware of the deep suffering and hurt that surround any matter of child abuse, especially when allegations involve a member of the clergy,” the statement said. “It can damage, often irreparably, the innocence, the trust and the reputations of all who are in any way affected by it.”

On Feb. 7, an anonymous note was pinned to the door of the church calling on DiMarzio to inform the congregation that Dempsey was never charged. The note further said that since the allegations against the priest were made public, news that Dempsey was never charged should be announced as well.

“Is there a double standard in our church?” the note asked.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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