Update: Church says cardinal addressed abuse ‘swiftly’
By The Associated Press06/05/19, 02:27
The Latest on a top U.S. cardinal’s handling of a sexual misconduct case (all times local):
Representatives of a top leader of the U.S. Catholic Church say he acted “swiftly and justly” to the allegations made by a woman who claims his former deputy lured her into a sexual relationship.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued a statement Tuesday in response to an Associated Press investigation of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is leading the U.S. church’s response to its sex abuse scandal.
Laura Pontikes accuses DiNardo of not fulfilling the archdiocese’s promises to prevent Monsignor Frank Rossi from being a pastor or counseling women after engaging in a sexual relationship with her. Instead, DiNardo allowed Rossi to go to a parish in rural east Texas under another diocese.
The statement from church officials says DiNardo agreed not to reassign Rossi in his archdiocese. It accuses the AP of publishing “unprofessional, biased and one-sided reporting,” and says some comments attributed to DiNardo by Pontikes and her husband, George, are “an absolute fabrication.”
It also says Pontikes demanded $10 million from the archdiocese. Pontikes acknowledges she made the demand in an off-the-cuff fit of anger, but says she was clear from the start that she wasn’t interested in a financial payoff. The Pontikeses and her lawyer told AP that details of mediation, including any financial negotiations, were confidential.
Before publication, the AP presented a detailed list of questions to the archdiocese and twice requested interviews with DiNardo. Those requests were denied.
This update has been corrected to show that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued the statement Tuesday, not Wednesday.
An advocacy group for clergy abuse victims is calling on a top U.S. cardinal to resign or step aside from his role leading the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to its sex abuse crisis.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement in response to an Associated Press investigation of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
DiNardo is accused of not fulfilling the archdiocese’s promises to parishioner Laura Pontikes after she alleged she had been sexually exploited by her pastor, Monsignor Frank Rossi.
SNAP lauded Pontikes for “speaking out against wrongdoing and in standing up for other survivors.” The group accuses DiNardo of having “compounded” the difficulties faced by adults who allege abuse in the church.
The archdiocese says the relationship was consensual and denies wrongdoing on the part of DiNardo.
The cardinal leading the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to sex abuse is being accused of mishandling a case in which his deputy allegedly manipulated a woman into a sexual relationship, even as he counseled her husband on their marriage and solicited their donations.
The allegations against Cardinal Daniel DiNardo come just a week before he presides over a meeting of U.S. bishops to adopt new accountability measures.
Laura Pontikes said DiNardo thanked her for coming forward in April 2016 and called her a “victim.”
But DiNardo allowed Monsignor Frank Rossi to return to ministry in a different diocese. The archdiocese said the relationship was consensual and Rossi had completed a “renewal” program.
On Tuesday, Rossi’s new bishop put him on temporary leave after Associated Press inquired about a police investigation.