Source: Associated Press
By NICOLE WINFIELD
HOUSTON (AP) — The cardinal leading the U.S. Catholic Church’s response to the sex abuse crisis has been accused of mishandling a case alleging that his then-deputy manipulated a woman into a sexual relationship, even as he counseled her husband on their marriage, heard her confessions 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 measures to hold church leaders accountable for sexual misconduct or for covering it up. Laura Pontikes, a 55-year-old Houston construction executive and mother of three, told The Associated Press that DiNardo has been negligent in her case, after she reported Monsignor Frank Rossi to the Galveston-Houston archdiocese in April 2016.
Pontikes reported that Rossi, the longtime chancellor and vicar general of the archdiocese, seduced her when she came to him for spiritual counseling at a low point in her life. Pontikes gave the archdiocese and the AP seven years of emails with Rossi to show her emotional dependency on him.
“He took a woman that went into a church truly looking for God, and he took me for himself,” she said.