FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 13
Ex-Queens pastor accused of child sex abuse by Flushing man
BY BILL PARRY
Th e longtime pastor of St. Joan of Arc
Church in Jackson Heights and current
parochial vicar at St. Teresa’s Church in
Woodside was named in two lawsuits fi led
Tuesday under the Child Victims Act as
an alleged sexual abuser.
Monsignor Otto Garcia, who was
cleared aft er a Diocese of Brooklyn investigation
in February determined allegations
against him were “unsubstantiated,”
was accused of child sexual abuse by Tom
Davis, 61, during a Manhattan press conference
on Sept. 10.
Garcia was the vicar general with the
Diocese of Brooklyn, and part of his
duties involved investigating allegations
of sexual abuse made against clergy members.
He remains an active priest, and celebrated
Mass at St. Teresa’s Church as
recently as Sept. 8.
Davis told reporters on Sept. 10 that he
kept the incident to himself for nearly fi ve
decades before fi nally coming forward.
“I was molested by Father Otto Garcia
when I was a child back in the 70s and
I kept it to myself for more than 45
years,” Davis said during the conference
arranged by the law fi rm Jeff Anderson
& Associates. “He was able to pick me
as a prime victim because of my parent’s
involvement in the church. I just didn’t
think anyone would believe me. I said
nothing until my parents passed.”
Davis said that his sexual abuse began
when he was a teenage altar boy at St.
Michael’s Church in Flushing, where his
mother was a fi ft h-grade teacher in the
parish school and his father was the parish
He said on Tuesday that he was so
ashamed by the sexual abuse that it caused
him to fall into drugs, alcoholism and
ruined relationships before fi nally seeking
help. Davis would tell his story to the
diocese’s Independent Reconciliation and
Compensation Program, which found
that there was “insuffi cient support” to
fi nd his claim eligible for compensation.
“I reported Garcia to the diocese and
even picked him out of a lineup, but aft er
a two-day investigation, they just swept it
under the rug,” Davis charged.
Th e Diocese of Brooklyn categorically
denied the allegations.
“On Nov. 29, 2017, the Diocesan Review
Board, chaired by Joseph Esposito, a
retired NYPD Chief of Department and
former Commissioner of the New York
City Offi ce of Emergency Management,
informed the Bishop that based on their
review of the fi ndings of the investigators,
they unanimously determined the
allegations to be not credible,” a Diocese
of Brooklyn spokesperson said. “Th e
board determined that there was a lack
of evidence to substantiate the allegations
against Monsignor Garcia.”
Aft er Davis came forward, Anderson
noted, another individual came forward
to accuse Garcia of abuse and fi led a lawsuit
as a John Doe.
“As to the second lawsuit fi led against
Msgr. Garcia by Jeff Anderson, law
enforcement will be notifi ed, and an
investigation will begin once we have suffi
cient information to do so,” the Diocese
spokesperson added. “If that allegation
were to be found credible, the Diocese of
Brooklyn’s Zero Tolerance Policy is very
clear. If any clergy member is found to
be credibly accused of sexual abuse of a
minor, he is permanently removed from
Garcia remains active at St. Teresa’s on 50th
Avenue in Woodside, where he celebrated
Mass last Sunday. Anderson urged Bishop
Nicholas DiMarzio, leader of the diocese, to
remove Garcia from public service.
“Bishop, please, it is time to get him out
and get him out now,” Anderson said. “Do
the right thing.”
Read more on QNS.com.
Photo: Pearl Gabel for New York Daily News
Monsignor Otto Garcia is shown in this 2013 New York Daily News photo outside St. Joan of Arc
Church in Jackson Heights.
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