Texas couple stands by story after US cardinal pushes back

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VATICAN CITY — 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.


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