The archdiocese of New York has removed auxiliary bishop John Jenik from public ministry, following “credible allegations” that he abused a teenage boy in the 1980s.
“I regret once again having to be the bearer of bad news, but I write to inform you that the archdiocese has received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor brought against Bishop John Jenik, an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese,” said New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan (pictured) in a letter to New York Catholics Wednesday.
“The Lay Review Board has carefully examined the allegation, which concerns incidents from decades ago, and concluded that the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated. Although Bishop Jenik continues to deny the allegation, he has stepped aside from public ministry and has moved out of his parish.
In an earlier letter to parishioners at Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx, dated October 29, Cardinal Dolan said that an allegation had been made against Bishop Jenik through the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).
Dolan said he is awaiting “Rome’s review” of the case, and also requested prayers “for all those involved in this case,” particularly the victim who brought forward the allegation and all victims of sexual abuse.
Jenik, who served as a pastoral associate at the parish from 1978 to 1985, and was appointed pastor in 1985, wrote an accompanying letter denying the allegations, which the archdiocese also posted on its website.
“While I have the utmost respect for the both the IRCP and the Review Board, and know that they have a great burden to confront the evil of sexual abuse, I continue to steadfastly deny that I have ever abused anyone at any time,” Jenik wrote.
Last month, Cardinal Dolan hired a former federal prosecutor to assist the Archdiocese of New York in dealing with the clerical sex abuse crisis.
In the midst of a new wave of sex abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church in the United States and abroad, Dolan announced that he had hired Barbara S. Jones, former Federal Judge and prosecutor, to serve as “Special Counsel and Independent Reviewer.”
At his press conference announcing the move, Dolan spoke of the “Summer of hell” for the Catholic Church, with “the scandal of Theodore McCarrick,” “the nauseating detail of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury of horrific abuse of minors by priests,” and “the controversy around the Archbishop Vigano letter.”
The task of the new special counsel is “to review, evaluate, and recommend improvements to the Archdiocese of New York’s response to the sexual abuse crisis currently confronting the Church.”
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