D.C. Basilica rector leaves Catholic University’s board amid church investigation

Washington Post

Sept. 21, 2019

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

The rector of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the country’s largest Catholic church, has stepped aside from his role on Catholic University’s board amid a church investigation, a spokeswoman for the basilica told The Washington Post on Friday.

Monsignor Walter Rossi, who has served on CUA’s board since his 2005 appointment as rector of the basilica, requested a leave of absence on Aug. 27 until an investigation into him is finished. Rossi remains in active ministry, according to spokeswoman Jacquelyn Hayes.

Allegations of misconduct have included that Rossi directed young men to another priest who harassed them. The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton – which launched the recent church investigation – have not said what exactly they are looking into.

During his leave, Rossi will not participate in any board activities, according to CUA spokeswoman Karna Lozoya. “We have no information that would lead us to do our own investigation at this time,” she said, noting that university officials will cooperate with the church investigation.

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