Allegations against top priest under review after AP report

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The Catholic Church in Texas says it is reviewing allegations that a top monsignor continued to hear a married woman’s confessions after luring her into a sexual relationship, a potentially serious crime under church law.

The announcement was issued by the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference. It came after the woman broke years of silence to denounce his handling of her case in an Associated Press investigation this week.

The archdiocese has defended DiNardo’s handling of the case. But it said Friday that the issue of confession was a “new development” presented by Laura Pontikes in the AP report and would be reviewed.

Pontikes has accused Monsignor Frank Rossi, DiNardo’s former deputy, of exploiting her emotional dependency on him.