Dinkel family speaks about Diocese decision to ban Jeni Lee from graduation

Alex and Tom Dinkel
Alex and Tom Dinkel
Jeni Lee Dinkel (Courtesy Kenton County Detention Center)
Jeni Lee Dinkel (Courtesy Kenton County Detention Center)

By Sara Gouedy - bio | email

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - The Diocese of Covington says no, it will not allow Jeni Lee Dinkel to attend her son's graduation at Covington Catholic High School.

The Diocese says that's because the community still needs to heal from the scandal surrounding Dinkel's sexual relationship with a student there. The former Hollywood makeup artist and wife of former Bengal Tom Dinkel was convicted of rape back in 2007.

Now the Dinkel family is upset with the church. They say this is a question of forgiveness, but  the church says this decision is about what's best for the Covington Catholic community.

"Would Jesus ban Jeni Dinkel from attending her son's graduation?" asks Eric Deters, the attorney for the Dinkel family.

"I'm leaving after this year. It's one favor that we're asking, please," said Alex Dinkel, Jeni Lee's son.

Deters and Tom and Alex Dinkel all say Jeni Lee should be allowed to attend Alex's high school graduation.

"Let's put this behind us, please!" said Alex Dinkel. "It's been two years, two long strenuous years."

Though Jeni Lee is not supposed to attend Covington Catholic events, her probation officer approved Dinkel's attending graduation.

Now, the diocese says no. It told the family formally in a letter.

"Does this punishment of banning Jeni fit the crime?" said Deters.

According to the diocese, it does. The church issued a statement saying the judgement is final.

The church says it's acting out of concern for students, and the people who will attend graduation services at St. Agnes Church and Thomas More College in May.

Tom Dinkel says even if Jeni Lee can't attend the service, he'll be there. He says graduation is a big goal for Alex, who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.