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Bronx Bishop Removed From Ministry, Alleged Victim Details Abuse

November 01, 2018 - 2:06 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- An auxiliary Catholic bishop in New York has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy, according to the Archdiocese of New York.

On Thursday, Michael Meenan – now a 52-year-old man – described the abuse in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“The guy pulls up in a car, ‘Hey, get in, let’s go for a ride,’” said Meenan.

Meenan said he meet Bishop John Jenik in the 1980s, when he was 16-years-old, at Our Lady or Refuge in the Bronx. He explained that he turned to the then-priest at a difficult time in his life while his father was in the hospital.

The 52-year-old explained that Jenik took advantage of the situation and tried to cultivate a relationship with him as a young teen. They went to movies, dinners, there was alcohol and overnight trips upstate, WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported.

“We consumed a lot of alcohol together, he took me to a lot of movies,” Meenan said, adding that the movies were typically sexually graphic.

Jenik would take him to a home upstate and once forced the teen to sleep in the same bed as him, according to Meenan.

“He had me in the bed with him alone – look, this was the creepiest night I ever spent with another human being,” Meenan explained.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday announced in a letter to parishioners that an allegation of inappropriate behavior was brought against Jenik, who has served the parish since 1978.

"This is sad, this is sad for all of us, it's sad for the victim and I sure appreciate that victim coming forward accepting my invitation to all victims to come forward," Dolan said in a video to the faithful.

Jenik, 74, maintains his innocence but was removed from the ministry Wednesday.

Meenan is seeking compensation and said the psychological impact has been enormous.  

Cardinal Dolan said a review board has already found the evidence submitted is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated.

“I continue to steadfastly deny that I have ever abused anyone at any time,” Jenik said in a letter to the parishioners. He added that he would “abide by the protocols of the archdiocese’s policy.”

Jenik has asked the Vatican to investigate.

This is the first time an active bishop has been accused of abusing a child.

Meenan also claimed a religion teacher at Fordham Prep abused him. That case has been settled.