A Texas couple that accused top U.S. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of mishandling a sexual misconduct case says his office is treating them the way the church treats other victims — by trying to discredit their story.

DiNardo’s Galveston-Houston diocese has said that it “categorically rejects” an Associated Press story about the case as biased and one-sided, and that the couple fabricated quotes and demanded a $10 million payout. George Pontikes, the leader of a construction firm, said he stands by his comments.

Laura Pontikes had accused DiNardo’s former deputy of manipulating her into a sexual relationship, even as he heard her confessions, gave counseling on their marriage to her husband and solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the couple. Pontikes said the deputy took sexual and financial advantage of problems in her marriage and the business the couple share.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo presides over a Mass of Ordination for seven candidates for the priesthood at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston Saturday, June 1, 2019. DiNardo, leading the U.S. Catholic Church's sex abuse response, has been accused of mishandling a case where his deputy allegedly manipulated a woman into a sexual relationship, even as he counselled her husband and solicited their donations. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Monsignor Frank Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo presides over a Mass of Ordination for seven candidates for the priesthood at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston Saturday, June 1, 2019. DiNardo, leading the U.S. Catholic Church’s sex abuse response, has been accused of mishandling a case where his deputy allegedly manipulated a woman into a sexual relationship, even as he counselled her husband and solicited their donations. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Monsignor Frank Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Monsignor Frank Rossi stands outside Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Woodville, Texas, on Sunday, April 14, 2019. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Monsignor Frank Rossi stands outside Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Woodville, Texas, on Sunday, April 14, 2019. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
An illuminated sign outside St. Michael Archangel Catholic Church in Houston reads,
An illuminated sign outside St. Michael Archangel Catholic Church in Houston reads, “Go, and from now on do not sin any more” on April 11, 2019. The church, which has been grappling for decades with the sexual abuse of children, is now being forced to reckon with the recognition that adults too can be sexually exploited by clergy. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Gold crosses and statues adorn confessional rooms at St. Michael Archangel Catholic Church, one of Houston's wealthiest parishes, on April 13, 2019. Laura Pontikes first met Monsignor Frank Rossi in a confessional at this church in December 2007. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Gold crosses and statues adorn confessional rooms at St. Michael Archangel Catholic Church, one of Houston’s wealthiest parishes, on April 13, 2019. Laura Pontikes first met Monsignor Frank Rossi in a confessional at this church in December 2007. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Laura Pontikes closes her eyes while seated in front of an antique oil painting of Jesus during an interview in the prayer section of her apartment in Houston on April 13, 2019. The 55-year-old Texas construction company executive and mother of three, had been seeking God when she began spiritual counselling with Monsignor Frank Rossi. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Laura Pontikes closes her eyes while seated in front of an antique oil painting of Jesus during an interview in the prayer section of her apartment in Houston on April 13, 2019. The 55-year-old Texas construction company executive and mother of three, had been seeking God when she began spiritual counselling with Monsignor Frank Rossi. The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Rossi and Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Laura Pontikes pauses as her husband George holds her hand after an interview in their apartment in Houston on April 13, 2019. From beginning to end, George Pontikes said, the church has failed them in its response to allegations of sexual misconduct. “They are doing exactly what the pope told them not to do: They are defending Frank Rossi,” he said. “They are not defending the victim.” The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Monsignor Frank Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Laura Pontikes pauses as her husband George holds her hand after an interview in their apartment in Houston on April 13, 2019. From beginning to end, George Pontikes said, the church has failed them in its response to allegations of sexual misconduct. “They are doing exactly what the pope told them not to do: They are defending Frank Rossi,” he said. “They are not defending the victim.” The Galveston-Houston archdiocese acknowledged a sexual relationship between Monsignor Frank Rossi and parishioner Laura Pontikes, but asserted that it was consensual. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Shows the Pontikeses' donations to the Catholic Church.;
Shows the Pontikeses’ donations to the Catholic Church.;
Laura Pontikes says her priest groomed her into a sexual relationship, absolving her of adultery while seeking big donations. And she says the man responsible for the U.S. church’s response to clergy abuse reneged on promised punishment.  (June 4)
Laura Pontikes says her priest groomed her into a sexual relationship, absolving her of adultery while seeking big donations. And she says the man responsible for the U.S. church’s response to clergy abuse reneged on promised punishment. (June 4)