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Pope accepts resignation of NY auxiliary under investigation for abuse

Bishop John Jenik (Archdiocese of New York)

Bishop Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry last year after the archdiocese found an accusation of sexual abuse against him to be credible

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John Jenik as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York and appointed two New York priests as auxiliaries of the archdiocese.

Jenik, 75, was removed from ministry last year after the archdiocese found credible an accusation of sexual abuse against him. Jenik, who has been an auxiliary of New York since 2014, maintains his innocence.

Neither the Vatican nor the Archdiocese of New York have announced the results of a preliminary investigation into the abuse allegations against Jenik.

Jenik’s alleged victim, Michael Meenan, 53, said last November that Jenik cultivated an inappropriate relationship with him during the 1980s that involved dozens of trips upstate to Jenik’s country house, where Jenik allegedly groped him in bed.

Meenan’s allegation was reviewed by the Lay Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York, which concluded “the evidence is sufficient to find the allegation credible and substantiated.”

Jenik, who has served as pastor at Our Lady of Refuge parish since 1985, wrote in an October 29 letter to his parishioners that he continues “to steadfastly deny that I have ever abused anyone at any time.”

Jenik’s case is being reviewed by the Vatican, most likely at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sources says, before being passed to Pope Francis for judgment.

On October 10, Pope Francis also appointed two New York priests, Fr Edmund J. Whalen and Fr Gerardo J. Colacicco, to serve as auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese.

Whalen, 61, has been the vicar of clergy for New York since January. He was previously dean of Monsignor Farrell High School on Staten Island for eight years.

From Staten Island, Whalen studied at Cathedral College in Douglaston, New York and at the Pontifical North American College and Gregorian University in Rome. He later received a doctorate in moral theology from the Alfonsianum, a graduate school of theology in Rome. He was ordained a priest of New York in 1984.

Fr Gerardo J. Colacicco, 64, is from Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended St Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers and has a license in canon law from Rome’s Angelicum university.

He was ordained a priest in 1982. In addition to serving in parishes, Colacicco has worked in the archdiocesan tribunal as a defender of the bond and a judge. Since 2015, he has been pastor of St Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parish in Millbrook.