Church investigations clear DC clergy member a 2nd time on sexual, financial misconduct allegations

Church investigations into the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. found no credible evidence of sexual and financial impropriety.

Monsignor Walter Rossi has served as rector since 2005 and was accused of sexually assaulting male students at the Catholic University of America.

Those allegations reportedly came from Archbishop Carlo Viganò who relayed the accusations during an interview last year with The Washington Post, claiming the Vatican embassy in D.C. received documentation on the matter.

The Washington Post reported that Viganò later denied ever having the documentation himself.

In the past, Viganò has called for Pope Francis to resign over allegations of investigative cover-ups of high ranking members of the church.

Rossi was also accused of recommending young men to a priest who was accused of harassing them.

Rossi also faced accusations of misusing church finances, but in a statement to the newspaper, the Archdiocese of Washington said there was “no unreasonable or inappropriate expenditures or significant issues.”

The Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania conducted its own probe and found no credible evidence into sexual assault allegations.

Rossi was ordained as a priest of the Scranton diocese in 1987 and moved to D.C. during the late 1990s.

Last fall, Rossi stepped down from Catholic University’s board until the investigations were finished.

It’s the second time since 2018 that Rossi has been cleared during internal church probes.

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Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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