A New York auxiliary bishop has been credibly accused of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of New York has reported. The bishop maintains his innocence.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced in an Oct. 29 letter to parishioners of a Bronx parish that Bishop John Jenik, 74 had been accused of “an allegation of inappropriate behavior with one person was brought against Bishop Jenik, who has served at Our Lady of Refuge since 1978.”
“This was the first time any such allegation about him was ever made,” Dolan added.
Dolan’s letter, which was posted Oct. 31 on the Archdiocese of New York’s website, explained that the claim was reviewed by the diocesan lay review board, which concluded “”
The New York Times reported Wednesday that the alleged victim is Michael Meenan, 52, who said that he met Jenik in 1978, at Our Lady of Refuge parish. Meenan was then around 13 years old.
Meenan said Jenik, who was then a priest but not yet a bishop, developed a relationship with him that eventually led to more than 70 unsupervised overnight visits to an upstate NY home owned by Jenik. At that home, Meenan said, Jenik served him alcohol, and one at least one occassion touched him inappropriately while the pair shared a bed.
Meenan said that his parents trusted Jenik, and permitted the overnight visits for that reason.
The case will be reviewed by the Vatican, most likely at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sources says, before being passed to Pope Francis for judgment. Canon law establishes that only the pope may judge a penal matter involving a bishop, unless the pope delegates that responsibility elsewhere.
Read more at Catholic Herald