It’s a story that’s sparking international headlines: more than 300 Pennsylvania priests accused of committing sexual crimes on children.
Now we are learning the story is hitting close to home. One name on that list of alleged predators is a former Colorado Springs priest.
Stephen Edward Jeselnick was ordained in 1978. He came to Colorado in 1982.
A year later he came to the Pikes Peak region, serving Holy Trinity Parish from 1983 until 1985.
In 1985, he requested to enter as chaplain at an Air Force base. In 2014, the Catholic Church told Jeselnick he was not allowed to serve in public ministry ever again.
According to county records, Jeselnick lives in the Kissing Camels neighborhood and served as a military chaplain until 2010.
“All of the victims were brushed aside in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
In the report, Jeselnick is accused of abusing two adult victims and three young boys.
The Diocese of Colorado Springs told FOX21 no sexual misconduct was reported during his time in southern Colorado.
“I’m 71 and I was raped and abused when I was 12 and I still suffer,” Tim Lennon said.
Lennon is the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and believes Jeselnick has more victims.
“I know that many victims take decades to come forward,” Lennon said. “Three quarters of victims of child sexual abuse never come forward.”
Lennon said the Catholic Church’s move to reassign Jeselnick to a military church was a way to sweep the issue under the rug.
“The military is just another case, it puts multiple soldiers in harms way,” Lennon said. “They move them from children, and the church says they have solved that problem.”
We tried reaching out to Jeselnick and left him multiple voicemails and texts, but none have been returned.
The Diocese is urging anyone who has been sexually abused to report it to law enforcement immediately.