The latest allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church come from New York, where a bishop has been accused of abusing a minor decades ago.
Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik, 74, will be stepping aside as an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of a minor is underway. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, made the announcement Wednesday in a video message posted to his website.
“This is sad. It’s sad for all of us. It’s sad for the victim and I sure appreciate that victim coming forward,” Dolan said in the video message.
Jenik denied the allegations and sent a letter to Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx, where he has served since 1978.
“While I have the utmost respect for the [Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program] and the review board, and know that they have a great burden as they confront the evil of sexual abuse, I continue to steadfastly deny that I have ever abused anyone at any time,” Jenik wrote.
In his letter, Jenik says he wants the Vatican to look over the matter “with the hope of ultimately proving my innocence.”
The details of the allegations have not been released by the Archdiocese of New York or the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office.
Michael J. Meenan, 52, the alleged victim, told CNN he was 13 when he met Jenik at Our Lady of Refuge Church in the Bronx.
Meenan said Jenik, who was a priest at the time, gained his trust after an emotional confessional in which he told Jenik about family problems he was having. That led to an inappropriate relationship that lasted until he was 18 years old, said Meenan.
“What this guy did to me he should get jail time,” said Meenan.
After the confession, Jenik would take him out alone a lot over the years, added Meenan. “He would take me to restaurants, drinking and always to a faraway neighborhood. He liked to do what he called ‘getting freaky’ and eat things like fried jelly fish.” He also took him to at least two movies that showed anal rape, according to Meenan.
Over the years, Meenan said Jenik would often take the teenager to Jenik’s house in Tivoli, New York, where they would stay alone. “I would spend the night there every New Year’s Eve, but we would always sleep in separate rooms,” said Meenan.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
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