WEATHER AUTHORITY : Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Pruitt dinner included Vatican figure accused of sexual abuse

Among a dozen or so dinner guests at a five-star restaurant in Italy last year were EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt an...

Posted: May 12, 2018 3:31 PM
Updated: May 12, 2018 6:26 PM

Among a dozen or so dinner guests at a five-star restaurant in Italy last year were EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and a controversial Vatican figure who was under investigation for and later charged with sexual abuse.

Scott Pruitt's public schedule for June 9, 2017, said he was having a private dinner with staff, but documents uncovered by The New York Times reveal he was dining with the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church to be accused in the sex abuse scandal plaguing the global church, Cardinal George Pell.

Pell was under investigation at the time by authorities in Australia, where he had been an archbishop. Later that month, he was charged with abuse.

Pell is also a known climate change denier, a position that aligns with Pruitt, which may explain why he was invited to the dinner. Another dozen or so members of the Holy See also attended, according to a statement from the EPA.

They went to a restaurant called La Terrazza, where meals run up to $240 per plate. The EPA wouldn't say who paid for the guests, but, spokesman Jahan Wilcox said, "Administrator Pruitt paid for all of his meals."

Wilcox also would not say why Pell was kept off the public schedule, saying only that the cardinal was charged 20 days after the dinner.

In a separate statement to CNN, Wilcox said that Pruitt was unaware of Pell's attendance. But the private schedule in a May email obtained by the Times shows he was the only Vatican official named on the schedule for the dinner. It was even noted that the dinner was the day before the cardinal's 76th birthday.

Pruitt was already under scrutiny for this Italy trip, given its $120,000 price tag, and reporting that it was arranged by an activist and friend of Pruitt's, Leonard Leo, an executive with The Federalist Society. Pruitt told members of Congress he went to attend the G7 summit, but spent only one day there, according to his schedule.

The trip is one of dozens of ethical scandals Pruitt is trying to weather as he navigates a path to keeping his job at the EPA. There are nearly a dozen probes underway, and the White House said as recently as Thursday that his actions have? "raised concerns" and they are hoping Pruitt can answer questions about his behavior.

Friday, President Donald Trump told reporters he remains confident in Pruitt's ability to run the agency. He is widely accepted as one of the most effective administrators when it comes to deregulation - something favorable to business but gut-wrenching to environmental groups.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16560

Reported Deaths: 794
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds107426
Madison76728
Lauderdale75968
Neshoba72844
Jones70133
Scott66312
Forrest59539
DeSoto57510
Rankin4569
Leake45212
Holmes44330
Copiah3294
Jackson31415
Attala31118
Yazoo2964
Newton2884
Lincoln28031
Leflore27736
Oktibbeha27314
Harrison2697
Monroe26925
Wayne2623
Lamar2505
Lowndes2479
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20316
Washington1987
Warren19610
Lee1948
Noxubee1936
Covington1792
Bolivar16911
Jasper1674
Clarke15619
Smith15511
Kemper15511
Lafayette1544
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1314
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1155
Lawrence1071
Grenada1074
Simpson1040
Yalobusha1046
Sunflower923
Tate911
Hancock9012
Union897
Itawamba897
Marshall873
Wilkinson859
Panola843
Montgomery841
Webster844
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun674
Amite661
Walthall640
Humphreys637
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw502
Pontotoc473
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie301
George292
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19073

Reported Deaths: 672
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 102°
Columbus
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 100°
Oxford
Few Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 96°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather