New York Auxiliary Bishop Under Review

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By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent

In the latest allegations of sexual abuse to hit the U.S Catholic Church, Bishop John Jenik, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, has been accused of sexual abuse and is now under review by the Vatican.

In a letter dated October 29, sent to parishioners at Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx, Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced that an allegation had been made against Auxiliary Bishop Jenik through the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).

Auxiliary Bishop Jenik served as a pastoral associate at the parish from 1978 to 1985, and was appointed pastor in 1985.

In his letter, Cardinal Dolan noted that this was the first allegation made against Auxiliary Bishop Jenik.

“Although the alleged incidents occurred decades ago, the Lay Review Board has concluded that the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated,” he wrote.

In a letter by Auxiliary Bishop Jenik accompanying Cardinal Dolan’s correspondence – which he referred to as “the hardest letter I have had to write in my 48 years of priesthood” – he denied the allegations.

“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,” he wrote.

Auxiliary Bishop Jenik went on to note that he was stepping aside and relocating while the matter is investigated.

In 2006, Cardinal Edward Egan appointed Jenik as vicar for the Northwest Bronx. He was made a bishop in 2014 by Cardinal Dolan and continues to serve as vicar for the region.

“Please pray for all those involved in this case,” wrote Cardinal Dolan, “particularly the victim- survivor who brought forward the allegation, and all victims of abuse wherever it occurred.”

This story will be updated.