US priest removed for sex abuse accusation

An auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Church was removed from his New York office on Wednesday after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, according to church officials.

John Jenik, 74, was accused of having inappropriate relations with Michael Meenan, 52, almost 40 years ago. This relationship was reportedly from 1980 - 1986, during which Meenan said to have slept at Jenik's house around 70 times.

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

The archdiocese in New York launched the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) in 2016 to help victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.

During the program, the allegation was brought forth and delivered to the Lay Review Board, a committee that monitors the protection of children in the Catholic Church.

"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," Dolan added.

Jenik said he will abide by the archdiocese's policy and not exercise his ministerial duties and step aside from his position until the matter is settled.

Source: Anadolu Agency