Pedophile Priest's Victim Said Bronx Bishop Was No Drug Crusader

By Ella Torres and Leonard Greene
New York Daily News
November 1, 2018

Clergy abuse victim Michael Meenan speaks at a press conference in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Thursday. (Ella Torres / New York Daily News)

The Bronx bishop ousted over allegations that he sexually abused a teenage boy was not only a pedophile, he was a fraud, too, his accuser said Thursday.

Bishop John Jenik, the longtime pastor of Our Lady of Refuge, owned a reputation as an anti-drug crusader who wore a bulletproof vest along the streets of the Bedford-Fordham area, where he worked against neighborhood dealers.

But his accuser, Michael Meenan, who said Jenik plied him with alcohol during overnight sexual assaults in the ’80s, said the pervy bishop was no neighborhood saint.

“He no more ended drug abuse in my old neighborhood than he stopped the sun from rising,” Meenan, 52, said. “Look, I was in a car with this guy when I was 14 years old getting bombed. This man has no more ended drug abuse than he made sure I was safe and taken care of.”

Meenan, at a news conference in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, said the abuse he suffered began in 1978, and continued for another five or six years.

Meenan said Jenik served him alcohol, and brought him to movies where he was “watching boys be anally raped.” Meenan said the priest abused him during one of many overnight stays at a Jenik’s country home in Tivoli, Dutchess County. He said Jenik got into bed with him and started rubbing him over the blankets.

Meenan called it “the creepiest night.” He said Jenik put his face so close to his “to either kiss me or suck my breath.”

Father John Jenik is pictured inside Our Lady of Refuge Church and School in the Bronx 2007. (Alvarez, Enid / New York Daily News)

Jenik, 76, has denied the claims. But Timothy Cardinal Dolan, in a letter on the archdiocese web site, said Janik has “stepped aside from public ministry and has moved out of his parish” after a “credible and substantiated” allegation of his sexual abuse of a child.

“Although Bishop Jenik continues to deny the allegation, loyal priest that he is, he has stepped aside from public ministry, and, as we await Rome’s review, may not function or present himself as a bishop or priest,” Dolan said.

The Vatican will investigate the allegations, Dolan said.

Meenan was joined by another victim, John Griffith, 58, who said he was a 6-year-old in the Bronx when he was first abused at Holy Cross school in the Bronx by a priest, who has since died.

“I’ve been victimized but I’m not a victim,” Griffith said. “I’m not going to let an event control my life. I had to reframe my life so I could help others.”

Griffith said he didn’t tell his parents as a child because they might have sided with the church.

Meenan and Griffith urged Dolan and the church to continue to root out pedophile priests.

“The church is unstable right now because of the fact that for decades guys like John Jenik and thousands of others sexually abused young boys,” Meenan said.

“We’ve had enough prayers. I’ve been praying. I still pray, and God heard my prayers and God told me, ‘Michael go down to St Patrick’s on All Saints’ Day and tell the truth. I think we need action. I think we need to put men in prison who rape little boys.”








Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.