Pope will not open canonical investigation against cardinal Marc Ouellet, the current Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who accused of inappropriately touching a woman between 2008 and 2010 while Archbishop of Quebec.
According to the explanation of the Press Office of the Holy See, The Pope has considered that “there are not enough elements” to investigate the cardinal.
“Pope Francis declares there are not enough elements to open a canonical investigation into the sexual assault of Cardinal Ouellet,” Vatican news agency director Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
Bruni explained that these are the conclusions the Pope has come to based on “the preliminary inquiry commissioned by the Pope” prepared by the priest Jacques Servais, a theologian in charge of investigating the case, estimates for his part that “there are no elements to start a trial of Cardinal Ouellet for assault”.
The director of the Vatican press office has quoted Servais and also pointed out that the complaining woman has not made any “accusations that would provide material for such an investigation”, “neither in her written report and sent to the Holy Father, nor in the testimony via Zoom” collected by this priest “in the presence of a member of the diocesan committee”.
According to the court proceeding documents authorized by the Supreme Court of Quebec last May, Ouellet was charged with sexual assault in a class action lawsuit made public last Tuesday in Canada involving more than 80 members of the Diocese of Quebec.
The Canadian cardinal has been accused by a woman identified as ‘F’. in court documents filed on Tuesday of having starred various unwanted touches, including running his hand over her back and touching her buttocks at a 2010 event in Quebec City.
The complaint against Ouellet is: one of two class action lawsuits filed by the law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats, based in Montréal. The two class action lawsuits were recently cleared by a Quebec judge and the law firm has 90 days to file preliminary documents detailing the alleged crimes.
One of the lawyers considered in an interview that: it is “inevitable” that the class actions his company has filed will lead to more people filing complaints against the church in the coming weeks.
In the first lawsuit, in which Ouellet is mentioned, About 88 priests or diocesan assistants have been accused of sexual assault by 101 people. The Archdiocese of Quebec said in a statement Tuesday it was aware of the allegations but declined to comment.
(With information from EuropaPress)