**EXCLUSIVE REPORT** Bishop Jenik’s Accuser: Serious Questions Now Arise About His Credibility

Michael J. Meenan : Bishop Jenik accuser

Michael J. Meenan, the accuser of New York Bishop John Jenik

Last week, the New York Times reported that a man came forward in January this year to claim that Bishop John Jenik, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York, repeatedly abused him as a teenager for several years in the 1980s.

The accuser is a man named Michael J. Meenan, and our investigation raises serious questions about Meenan's claims. We believe he may indeed be falsely accusing Bishop Jenik.

It turns out that this is not the first time that Meenan has come forward publicly to claim abuse by a Catholic employee decades ago.

An accuser's second trip to the trough

Bishop John Jenik

Staying strong:
Bishop John Jenik

Two years ago, in August 2016, Meenan came forward at age 50 to make the accusation that a religion teacher at his high school, Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, abused him one night shortly after he graduated in 1984, 32 years earlier. It was a banner story in the New York Times at the time.

The teacher denied abusing Meenan, but Fordham canned the guy on the spot. Meenan then received a cash settlement, courtesy of his lawyer, the one-and-only Mitchell Garabedian.

And we at TheMediaReport.com have uncovered a video interview from August 2016 in which Meenan speaks at length about the abuse he claimed to have suffered at Fordham. But Meenan mentions nothing – nothing at all – about being repeatedly abused by a future bishop as a teen at the very same time he was abused one night by his religion teacher.

Think about it: Meenan first accuses a religion teacher a couple years ago but mentions nothing until this year that a bishop (yes, a bishop!) ruthlessly abused him for many years? Meenan has since called his alleged years-long abuse by Jenik "the greatest evil I have witnessed in my lifetime," but he is just telling us now, two years after already going public against a teacher for a single episode of abuse?

One would think that even those at the hate group SNAP wold have a hard time buying this.

Curious praise for priests

And in the 2016 video, Meenan actually speaks very fondly of the "gay priests" at Fordham, saying they were both "very appropriate" and "generous." And while Jenik was never employed at Fordham Prep, it is striking that Meenan would speak so glowingly of Catholic priests within the very same time period in which he claims to have been brutally abused by Jenik.

The Archdiocese of New York has somehow determined that Meenan's accusation is "credible" and "substantiated." But as we have written exhaustively before, the bars of "credible" and "substantiated" are often ridiculously low, often to the point that diocesan "review boards" accept almost all accusations as true.

Bishop Jenik vehemently denies abusing Meenan or anyone, and Jenik has had no other accusers in nearly a half century in ministry. Jenik has said in a letter (pdf) that he will take his case to the Vatican to profess his innocence.

One last thing …

While standing at a press conference last week making his eye-opening claims against Jenik, Meenan claimed that in the 1980s, "[Jenik] took me to a lot of movies, and some of those movies included the anal rape of young boys."

Really? Where would someone "take" another person to see movies featuring vile child pornography in the 1980s? AMC Theatres? Regency? Landmark Theatres? We question Meenan's strange claim.

To the press Michael also described himself as "an Ivy League graduate living on food stamps" whose life is "in a ditch." We are sorry to hear this. But what happened? Did the 2016 settlement money from his previous accusation run out already?

Our conclusion: We're not buyin' Meenan's story.

Comments

  1. malcolm harris says:

    Dare I ask this question?  When are those who issue press releases, or answer media questions,  going to wake up?. Can't they understand that the words "credible" and "substantiated" have a different meaning to the average person. To Joe Average the word credible means that it  (the accusation) has been found to be true. To him, the word "substantiated" has an even stronger degree of certainty. Does any Church official really expect that the media will explain to Joe Average that the use of these words doesn't indicate proven facts?. Because to the Church the word "credible" simply means that the accuser and the accused man were in the same locality. For example I can show proof that I was in the same parish as "Fr. Brown" and was an altar boy. Therefore it's "credible"  But the rest of my story could be a pack of lies. So please don't use the word "credible"…. until it's proven.

    • Kevin Mackin says:

      You are absolutely right.  Credible means "not entirely impossible."  For example, it's not entirely possible that I would rob a bank!!!! The term "credible" is ambiguous and subjective!  "Substantiated" means you have hard evidence, a "smoking gun."  More to the point, in American jurisprudence, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The Dallas charter needs a "re-write" and should be equally applicable to bishops as well as priests.   

  2. Dan says:

    Does the Church also have a different definition for the word "substantiated"? I see "credible" and "substantiated" together and I take that to mean that the Church has looked into the matter and found it to be the truth. So I would place blame on the Church or Vatican for using words together that most people would assume to mean the truth, especially when accusations are directed towards a higher official in the Church. If it's not substantiated or credible than don't use those words. It would just seem to make sense.

    • LLC says:

      Dan,

      “…the Church has looked into the matter and found it to be the truth…” = actually, the words “substantiated” and “credible” do not necessarily mean “true”. In fact, the entire legal process is designed to take a credible and substantiated accusation and make sure that it can stand beyond reasonable doubt. The Church, in this age of persecution and bias, is correct in erring on the side of caution (Catholics are familiar and understand very well the meaning of redemptive suffering). Unfortunately, nowadays the Media is more interested in the clamor and sensationalism, and it has absolutely lost any pretense of credibility and respect.

    • Dan says:

      This is where we have a serious problem. "The Church" in all it's glory is the guilty party to all these credible, substantiated or proven sexual crimes against children and their coverup and secrecy. And yet we consistently hear how the Church is acting transparently, "correct[ly]" and with zero tolerance, when these are only words lacking sufficient evidence. So now Catholics turn their attention, once again, to attacking the messengers, anti-catholics, haters, bigots and now the "Media" … "has absolutely lost any pretense of credibility and respect." What definition of "credibility" would you like to apply to the Media, the accurate definition of credibilty or the fake Catholic definition? Has seeking the truth now lost all its meaning?

    • LLC says:

      Dan,

      “This is where we have a serious problem” = incorrect. This is where you have a serious problem (unless you like to use the plurale majestatis…).

      “The Church" in all it's glory is the guilty party” = first, it’s “its glory” (although her glory is definitively better). Secondly, this is incorrect. The guilty parties are the individuals who committed the crimes, not the institution that Jesus established (Matthew 16:18).

      “to all these credible, substantiated or proven sexual crimes against children and their coverup and secrecy” = this is also incorrect. “Credible, substantiated” is very different than “proven”.

      “consistently hear how the Church is acting transparently, "correct[ly]" and with zero tolerance… = incorrect, again. First of all, it’s not the Church who’s acting. Secondly, nobody in this blog or elsewhere refutes that some officials of the Church have not acted “transparently, correctly and with zero tolerance”, and are now paying the price for it.

      The definition of credibility I use is the simple one from Merriam-Webster: “the quality or power of inspiring belief”. According to many recent polls, the Americans’ trust in Media is at an all-time low, and is much lower than the credibility of religious institutions, including the RCC.

      “Has seeking the truth now lost all its meaning?” = now, this is an interesting oxymoron. Media and truth in the same paragraph…

    • Dan says:

      LLC, You're right, I should have said, "This is where you have a serious problem."

      The "guilty parties" makeup and are the "institution". And the proper quote concerning your Church that would be worthwhile for you to study would be Matthew 7:15-20. Matthew 16:18, no matter how hard Catholics try, does not apply to your Church, but to God's true church, the gathering of His real believers.

      I never said that credible or substantiated meant that it was proven. Speaking of that I noticed you try to avoid defining the word "substantiated". Seeing that "The Archdiocese of New York" … "determined that Meenan's accusation is 'credible' and 'substantiated', allow me to define substantiated using your prefered Merriam-Webster definition. 

      Substantiated- to establish by proof or competent evidence; VERIFIED

      So let's add this to your "definition of crediblity" and we have; "the quality or power of inspiring belief", "establish[ed] by proof or competent evidence". I don't agree that the Vatican or Archdiocese of New York would be so willing to besmirch their own seeing that it puts another bad mark against the Church, so on this matter I'll accept their findings.

      I'll repeat, Through the lies and deceptions of many, "truth now [has] lost all its meaning"?

       

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      The annual USCCB reports define ‘substantiated’ as follows: “‘Substantiated’ describes an allegation for which the diocese/eparchy has completed an investigation and the allegation has been deemed credible/true based upon the evidence gathered through the investigation.”

      As as we’ve already written (see above), the bar of ‘credible’ is incredibly low.

    • LLC says:

      Dan,

      “The "guilty parties" makeup and are the "institution" = incorrect, again. No more than an incompetent teacher makes up and is the institution “school”, or a war criminal makes up and is the institution “military”.

      Matthew 7:15-20 is a great verse to apply to the Catholic Church. In about 2,000 year she has produced great fruits, from public education to hospitals, from universities to the scientific method, from preserving the Western culture to caring for the poor and the disadvantaged. She is, indeed, a very good tree. And this, of course, without even talking about bringing countless souls to salvation through Jesus. Thank you for reminding us of her goodness and holiness.

      “I never said that credible or substantiated meant that it was proven” = Actually, you did precisely this. Please read your own post again: “I see "credible" and "substantiated" together and I take that to mean that the Church has looked into the matter and found it to be the truth”. You took it, therefore you said it.

      “…you try to avoid defining the word "substantiated" = incorrect. You asked for the definition of credibility, and I provided the one I use. Next time, please, be more precise.

      As for “substantiated”, aside from the great definition already provided by TMR, it comes from the Latin “substantia”, substance or essence in English. Hopefully you understand that what is substantiated is the allegation, not the crime in itself. It simply means that there is substance onto which a case can be built. For example, if both Bishop Jenik and his accuser were in the same place at the same time, that would be substantia, or basis, for further investigation. Is the accusation proven? No.

      “I'll repeat…” = Proverb 26:11 applies beautifully, as usually

    • Dan says:

      "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Matthew 7:22

      LLC, Do you think all your churches "wonderful works" can ever make up for the disgusting idolatry, greed, pedophilia, sexual immorality, lies and secrecies of the hierarchy and lay leaders of your Church? Thanks for your quote describing your Church, Proverbs 26:11, but I believe you'd be better served taking a look at 2 Peter 2, Peter describing the hypocrisy and adding to your quote, "A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud." 2 Peter 2:22

      You may not have read Matthew 7 well, missing verse 18, "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit." So if there are child molesters belonging to that organization, then that would definitely designate a bad tree, and all the so-called goodness you can brag about will not change that fact.   servant of the Lord

    • LLC says:

      Dan,

      Matthew 7:22 = interestingly enough, the only poster in this blog (actually, you are in the good company of JR…) who makes such claims is you. The focus of Matthew 7 is Judgment, which is of the Lord’s only. Matthew 7:21-23 specifically refers to pretenders, those who like to pass judgement on others to mask their own shortcomings.

      Wonderful works = never said that. I said that the Church, like a good tree, bears good fruits, because she is a doer of the Word, as in Matthew 7:24, and James 2:14-26.

      “…can make up…” = your theology is really skewed. The Church does not teach that, nor do Scriptures.

      Matthew 7:18 goes very well with Matthew 5:22, and applies, again, to you as well.

      Finally, to remain in Matthew, please meditate on 7:3. Again, very apt

  3. Michael Breslin says:

    All victims of sexual abuse must be cared for and protected.  Those who perpetrate such horrific acts should be punished.  The Catholic Church has made extreme mistakes and must atone for its actions and cover-ups.  The church sexual abuse scandal is an act of evil.  Its consequences will be felt for decades to come.  However, I can attest to the good character and integrity of Bishop Jenik, having known him for the better of 36 years.  I met him as a 14 year old boy living a few blocks from Our Lady of Refuge and spent countless moments alone in his company.  I spent many nights away from home as a teenager and a college student with Bishop Jenik.  The majority of these trips ranged from a few days to a week or more whereby Bishop Jenik and I spent almost every waking hour together.  At no time did Bishop Jenik ever display inappropriate behavior whether by word, action, innuendo or anything which could otherwise be construed as simply wrong.  Bishop Jenik never acted or exhibited behavior either in word or deed that could be interpreted as sexual in nature.  On the contrary, Bishop Jenik offered me guidance and sound advice.  I never experienced, witnessed or heard rumors which even suggested any sort of inappropriate behavior on his part.  On the contrary, Bishop Jenik was and remains a role model to me and countless others.  I pray for him, his parishioners, his family and friends and all those who have been adversely impacted by this matter. 

    • LLC says:

      MB,

      Your post is very inspiring. If I may make a suggestion, it would be nice if you could write the same inspiring words to Bishop Jenik and the Archdiocese of New York. I think they both would appreciate it.

      Also, if a comment is allowed, I would always try to make a distinction between the Church and the individuals who committed these sinful crimes. The Church herself is not guilty. Few individuals are, and by reflection (not association), all we Catholics are.  As we are in a family, we all share in the shame and must atone for the behavior of the few. Does this make sense? The Church as the institution that Jesus established is unblemished and holy. Unfortunately, her constituency is not. I understand that non-Catholics don’t see the difference (Dan, in primis); nevertheless, it’s there and we as Catholics must stress on it.

  4. Fr Khouri says:

    The bishops are very anxious to get the heat off of themselves.  Any accusation, even those deemed not credible 15 years ago are now credible.  Even bishops are being thrown under the bus for lies and false accusations.  The difference is a.bishop can appeal to Rome, most priests cannot.  Even then Rome is a filthy mess.  God help the faithful priest who is falsely accused.

    • Dan says:

      Let's go back to the words of one of your own, St. Benedict of Nursia, Italy, born around 500 AD, sent to Rome to finish his studies, left because of the sinfulness in the city, claiming it to be a cesspool of paganism. Now even their own, and you're not the first, are claiming "Rome is a filthy mess". I couldn't agree more and realize how some things never change, even as much as 1500 years later. I hate to quote Trump, but "Maybe it's time to drain the swamp."

      We should all hate to see anyone "falsely accused". At the same time it would be nice to see the guilty receive the punishment they deserve, but we just might need to wait for Judgment Day.

    • LLC says:

      Dan,

      San Benedetto da Norcia is indeed a great example of Catholic sainthood. He actually went to Rome to study according to his father’s wishes, as was common at that time for the children of noble families. After reaching higher studies, Benedict grew weary of Rome and found his teachers corrupt and unchristian, so he left Rome to pursue a spiritual life (hopefully you understand that Rome is not the Church, n’est-ce-pas? This is also why your quoting of Revelation is in absolute vain – but I digress). He went on to found twelve communities for monks in central Italy, near Rome, and his Rule (Ora et Labora, pray and work), became one of the most influential among Western Christendom. Incidentally, Norcia is very close to Assisi, where another great Catholic Saint was born, about 600 year after Benedict. Both Saint Francis and Benedict chose to help reforming the earthly church with their example and teachings; they didn’t leave her, like the founder of your sect, Luther.

      “…but we just might need to wait for Judgment Day’ = correct. We all, including you, shall wait for Jesus’ final coming. You may be in for a big surprise, though..

  5. Colm J says:

    Right-wng Catholic journalists are a huge huge part of this problem. I would go so far as to say that they are playing the part, consciously or unconsciously, of gatekeepers for this unrelenting anti-Catholic campaign, and are a large part of the reason there has so little pushback from Catholics against this constantly renewed hatefest. I stopped subscribing to the self-styled traditionalist Catholiic newspaper, The Remnant, several years ago in utter disgust at the way it slavishly regurgitated media anti-Catholic narratives. Just like the rabidly anti-Catholic mainstream media, the self-styled Catholic trads convict all accused priests and religious – living and deceased – on the spot. By some extremely bizarrer process of cognitive dissonance they appear to have convinced themselves (or perhaps have been convinced by anti-Catholic "Judas goats" in their fold?) that the more scandal is heaped on the Church the more their allegedly traditionalist view of things will be vindicated. This is delusion on a very grand scale. I long ago lost count of the number of trads I've come across who justify siding with the media on the basis that the Church will emerge from all of this a much smaller but purer entity. This scorched earth mentality reminds one of nothig so much as a schoolboy praying that the school he attends will be burnt down because he doesn't like his teacher. It also reveals a disturbing Marxist Leninist mentality among trads – a belief that it doesn't matter how many innocent men and women are thrown to the wolves as long the "Church is purified". This is not Catholic thinking, much less traditional Catholic thinking. And it's a mark of the infantile naivety of such folk that they assume that when they get their super new "purified" Church, the media won't come after it just as viciously as they're going after the Church now. After,all by their own admission, this new Church will be much smaller and  therefore much less able to defend its reputation. 

    There's no attempt at journalstic rigour in most right-wing Catholic treatments of the scandals – just hysteria heaped on hysteria. It's as if it's become an undefined dogma of the Catholic right – both EWTN Neoconservative and Remnant style traditionalist – that the media line on the scandals must never be questioned in any shape or form.

     

    Several prominent Irish Protestants – e.g. the journalist Victoria White – have lamented how the media ignore the many cases of clerical abuse in Protestant denominations – but by some weird and very modern irony – Catholic trads have become rabid anti-Cathoilcs to rival the 19th century Know Nothings or the modern Soros funded far left..

     

     

    • Otto says:

      The thing that disgusts me the most about the right-wing attack on the Church is that it reeks of opportunism. Right-wing Catholics were waiting for something big to attack Pope Francis with and now they have it. They are totally unprincipled as revealed by their willingness to join with anti-Catholics of every stripe (including their traditional enemies on the secular left) to attack the Church and the current pope. It reminds me of the way the Nazis and Soviets put aside their differences for a time to divide up Poland between them. Disgusting.

    • Colm J says:

      Otto: You are absolutely right. I've lost all respect for  these folk. They have shown themselves to be the worst type of moral relativists imaginable; their basic working premise is that principles like innocent until proven guilty and a man's right to his good name are old fogey stuff that can be discarded in the new era where accused Catholic clegy are by definition "guilty until proved guiltier". A few months ago I heard a conservative Catholic commentator, Robert Royal, approvingly quote the Marxist Chilean playwright's Ariel Dorfman, condemnation of the Pope's perfectly reasonable request that evidence of guilt should be presented.before bishops or priests be summarily condemned. This is the same Ariel Dorfman that allowed one of his plays to be turned into a film by none other than Roman Polanski – a  man who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. You couldn't make this stuff up. The Catholic right is now utterly decadent – intellectually and morally. For instance, Elizabeth Yore -  a woman who boasts of being a former children's adviser to Oprah Winfrey – writes hysterical pieces for traditionalist Catholic publications – articles that invariably treat lurid anti-Catholic gossip and unproven accusations as established fact. For all her proclaimed concern for children, Yore never seems to have had a problem working for the pro-abortion New Ager Oprah -a  woman who frequently urged women to leave their husbands for no better reason than that they felt bored. Take a long hard look at those denouncing the Church from the so called Catholic right and you'll find most of them are in no position to point the finger at cardinals or bishops for cosying up to enemies of the Church. 

         

    • Dan says:

      I'm not a right wing Catholic, Protestant or of the secular left, nor follower or sympathizer of Oprah, Roman Polanski, Marxist or Communist. There are some of us who care not to see anyone falsely accused, so we shouldn't be stereotyped to any certain group. At the same time we would like to see "the Church" truly come clean, expose the wickedness within, with full transparency, and work on preventing sexual child abuse among its ranks. Until there is significant change, I don't think any Catholic deniers or excusers have the right to point their fingers at anyone, period. The "Catholic right" you claim is "cosying up to enemies of the Church", just may be Catholics who would like to see true change and repentance among the leaders of their Church. Until then, I don't believe there will be any mercy from the Almighty. 

  6. Frances Garcia says:

    Monseir  Jenik is innocent been around him for over 30yrs  his a very direct strict priest. I went on marches with him when our block was being infested with drugs. He also was in danger for his life but he didn’t care as long as the community was safe. This guys is making this up to get a settlement like he did with the other case. I know father Jenik will fight till the end to proof his innocence . Also I know altar boys that used to go up to the house but never slept over. May God protect us all from people like this. 

  7. Stephan P says:

    Let me state for the record that I DO NOT believe the accusations at all!! I am both a graduate of both OLR and FP. I was on the school choir, an altar boy, cub scouts, Boy Scouts, the Fife & Drum Corps, participated in gym club (an evening weekend activity for students to play and socialize on school grounds) for as many years that I can remember being there. All of the aforementioned, I have spent the same said years, occasions, church as well as social events, community gatherings, outreach volunteer events, etc and ALL of which Fr. Jenik was present. Neither alone with him or in a group setting has he ever spoken or behaved in any inappropriate way, shape or form! Not with me, and not with any of my fellow classmates (I verified). We are all appalled and disgusted at such an accusation brought against such a pillar to our community for DECADES!!! Had it not been for the weather tonight, you would have known about our scheduled neighborhood march on Fr. Jenik’s behalf! We unite in prayer to shine the light on Fr. Jenik’s innocence, as well as on the accuser, that God may forgive his sins.

     

     

  8. Colm J says:

    Dan, why reply to comments that were not addressed to you, when you make no attempt to address the points raised therein? Anti-Catholic propagandists like you are clearly seeking to weaponise moral outrage as an ideological tool to destroy the Church's reputation. Contrary to what you state, Catholics have not only a right, but a duty to expose the blatant media double standards when it comes to coverage of scandals. If for example the media endlessly reported and discussed crime among Puerto Rican Americans, and never mentioned equal or higher rates of crime among other ethnicities, no one in their right mind would suggest that the Puerto Rican community should not protest such disproportionate coverage – or that such protests were an attempt to excuse the crimes that Puerto Ricans  actualy did commit. By constantly seeking to justify the media's vastly disproportionate coverage of Catholic scandals, you are in effect implying that the victims of sexual abuse by members of other institutions, secular and religious, do not merit consideration. 

    • Dan says:

      Until "the Church" can display some moral fortitude of its own, I don't think anyone should be blaming the media, other institutions or individuals of moral relativism, anti-Catholic propaganda, bigotry, hatred, witch-hunts or any other Catholic slander. 

  9. utahagen says:

    There's no need for categorizing people who comment on this particular case. I happen to be furious about the Church's general denial about the link between homosexuality and the sex abuse scandal, but that doesn't mean I believe every priest or bishop accused is guilty. In this case, even assuming what Michael Meehan is alleging is 100% accurate, my reaction is, "So what? How is that sexual abuse?" If Bishop Janek spent, say fifteen weekends with the teenager a year for three years, and the most Meehan can claim is that one night the priest patted him over the bedcovers and pressed his mouth near his mouth while he slept, that sounds to me very much as if the priest was making sure the boy had enough blankets over him and he kissed him goodnight. I do the same for my 12 year old son and teenage newphew. I certainly doubt a child abuser would have been able to confine himself to just those behaviors just one time over three years. This seems a money grab by a middle aged man who admits he is a loser.

    I suspect Bishop Jenik let the then-teenager drink beer when he was with him, and that is the reason he (Jenik) is going to go down. Being found guilty of sexual abuse is far to serious a punishment for having allowed a teenage boy to drink beer 35 years ago, but that's the way it goes.

    People who know Bishop jenik personally should speak out on his behalf, while those of us why smell a rat in this particular case also should speak up. Again, stereotyping any of us according to which "type" of Catholic any of us is is inappropriate. When it comes to not wanting innocent priests to be brought down, and not wanting children and teenagers to be abused, we all should be on the same side.