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The Day of Reckoning for Monsignor Rossi and the Hierarchy

Last month I wrote about the reported predatory behavior of Monsignor Walter Rossi, the director of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., a position to which he had been appointed by the pedo-rapist Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2005. Bishop Michael Bransfield, who is under investigation for predatory gay behavior, had recruited Rossi, a priest from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to join the Basilica staff after he completed a canon law degree at Catholic University.

A number of alumni from the Catholic University of America (CUA) have told me that Rossi “hit” on them and “groomed” them. In one case, I was told, Rossi asked a CUA student about his gay roommate (with whom Rossi was overly familiar) and insinuated that the three of them should get together for group sex.

“Rossi is a gay sexual harasser of CUA students,” said this alumnus to me. A professor of theology at CUA, C.C Pecknold, has responded to the concerns my article raised among mothers and fathers with sons at CUA: “I do think the allegations against Msgr. Rossi should be investigated by the Metropolitan, but important to remember that [the Basilica] is institutionally independent from the University and not under our purview. Mr. Neumayr paints with too broad a brush.”

Actually, the strokes of my brush have never been more precise. Rossi sits on CUA’s Board of Trustees. Yes, Rossi’s long history of gay misconduct and gay sexual harassment of CUA students is a matter for Wuerl (and Rossi’s actual superior, the bishop of Scranton, where he was ordained). But surely it is a matter for the university. Or is CUA’s board okay with a board member who asks CUA students for threesomes?

Last Saturday, I saw John Garvey at the Mayflower hotel. He is the president of Catholic University. He had previously worked as a dean at Boston College Law School, where he sparked criticism among orthodox Catholics by siding with the Jesuit school’s LGBT-promoting faculty in a controversy involving a scorned faculty member who opposed gay marriage. It is hard to imagine Garvey dithering over whether or not to an investigate a member of his board who was accused of hitting upon female CUA students. But in Rossi’s case it appears that he is dithering, and that he certainly doesn’t want to answer questions about a potential investigation into Rossi’s conduct.

I said to Garvey civilly, “Can I ask you a question?” Ever the slithery charmer, Garvey patted me on the arm as he said, “No, you can’t, George,” and walked away.

Can it really come as a surprise to Garvey that a journalist is looking into the scandalous tenure of Monsignor Rossi, a protégé and hire of the biggest predatory gay cleric in American ecclesiastical history? The predatory gay web around McCarrick could not be more obvious. McCarrick presided over a culture of outré behavior in which the Bransfields and Rossis could pursue gay double lives with impunity.

After I reported last month that Rossi owns a self-described “sex pad” in Fort Lauderdale (a CUA source overheard Rossi describe his condo in those terms), which bills itself as the “LGBT capital of Florida,” a well-placed source within the Church on the East Coast contacted me to confirm my account. (I had reported that Rossi co-owns the condo with a priest from Scranton, Fr. Andrew Hvozdovic.)

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