Cardinal accused of sexual harassment in Canada – 08/16/2022

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who holds a high position in the Vatican government, is accused of sexual harassment in a class-action lawsuit involving more than 80 members of the Quebec diocese, announced Tuesday (16).

The cleric, the current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is accused of inappropriately touching an apprentice between 2008 and 2010 when he was archbishop of Quebec, according to documents in the legal action, which the French-speaking province’s High Court recognized in May.

The revelations come three weeks after Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, where he apologized for abuses committed by Church members at boarding schools for indigenous peoples.

Contacted by AFP, the diocese of Quebec said it had “recorded the allegations against Cardinal Marc Ouellet” and did not “want to comment on the matter at all”.

The allegations are among the testimonies of 101 people “sexually assaulted” by clergy and lay officials between June 1940 and today, court documents show.

In the case of Marc Ouellet, a woman identified by the letter “F.” admitted to having been harassed several times by the cardinal. According to her complaint, Ouellet allegedly “kissed” her and “tucked her hand” down her back “to her ass” in 2010.

In February, during a landmark symposium at the Vatican attended by Pope Francis, Cardinal Ouellet alluded to “the drama of sexual abuse by the clergy” and criticized “criminal behavior that was covered for a long time to protect the institution”. “We are all divided and humbled by these important issues, which challenge us every day as members of the Church,” he said at the time.


© Agence France-Presse

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