April 6, 2011
Television clergyman Rev. Michael Manning, head of the nonprofit Catholic television ministry Wordnet, confessed to having a sexual relationship with his second cousin, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools, Nancy Kotowski.
News of the relationship was revealed this week by the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, which stated it had received copies of letters pointing to the end of the relationship about two years ago.
In a brief comment, Kotowski, 59, stated her friendship with Manning “has grown over 30 years” but refused to speak about their sexual association. “I have nothing more to publicly say about this personal and private matter,” she told the Sun.
Kotowski was in Washington, D.C. this week for an anti-gang conference, along with Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel).
The 70-year-old Manning founded Wordnet in 1978 and has since been a guest on more than a dozen well-known talk and religion-based shows including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Larry King Live.” His ministry takes him across the globe teaching and leading retreats.
Their correspondence reveals they haven’t been intimately involved in over two years—Manning admitting that the breaking of his priestly vows was something that wore on him, ultimately leading to a dissolution of the affair.
Manning says the future will most likely be “awkward,” but Diocese Spokesman John Andrews ensures that the diocese will “support him in [his quest for forgiveness and reconciliation] 100 percent.”