Monsignor accused in woman's sex assault won't be charged

HOUSTON, Texas -- A Texas grand jury has declined to indict the onetime deputy to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo on charges he sexually assaulted a married woman in a case that raised questions about consent in the #MeToo era.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office had presented the case against Monsignor Frank Rossi on Monday, more than a year after Laura Pontikes filed a criminal complaint with Houston police.

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Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said the grand jury determined no criminal charges were warranted, but that prosecutors could bring the case to a new grand jury if new evidence is discovered.

Rossi was for years the vicar-general to DiNardo, the Catholic archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. bishops conference who has been leading the U.S. hierarchy's response to the sexual abuse scandal.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office released the following statement:

"A grand jury was presented all the evidence and determined that no criminal charges are warranted. If new evidence is discovered at a later date, prosecutors have the option of presenting that evidence to another grand jury for consideration."
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