According to Radio-investigative Canada’s program Enquête, the identity of a renowned Vatican cardinal that is seen as a likely replacement to Pope Francis appears on a list publicly disclosed as part of a new class action against the Quebec diocese.
A total of 88 clergy members, including Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the archbishop of Quebec during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, have been accused of sexual misconduct. This is the first time Ouellet has been mentioned in the case.
More than a hundred people, most of whom were children at the time, have filed a civil case against the diocese alleging that priests and other employees sexually molested them. The allegations date back to at least 1940.
Based on the class action docs, most of the assaults occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.
As the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church on the class action list, Ouellet stands out from the crowd. There have been no formal criminal charges brought against the cardinal.
His claimed victim, referred to only as “F” in the documents, says she was assaulted while interning as a pastoral agent between 2008 and 2010. According to her, they happened at well-attended functions.
The complainant told the Enquête team at Radio-Canada last spring, “He grabbed me and then… his hands on my back, they went down very low.”
It was “very intrusive for, say, an individual who is my superior, who was the archbishop of Quebec,” he said.
The cardinal reportedly told her that since it was the second or third time they had seen one other that week, there was no harm in having another passionate encounter with her.
“Especially the word “treatment,” which implied physical manipulation, that made me feel really uneasy. As if I were a reward for him, “her words
The allegations made by the woman to Enquête are consistent with those made in the legal papers.
This woman claims that Ouellet repeatedly made her feel extremely uncomfortable by holding her against his body, massaging her shoulders, and firmly caressing her back “down to the point where the buttocks originate.”
“I was being stalked. It got so intrusive and overwhelming that I had to quit going to parties. I avoided him as much as I could, “as she put it.
The Quebec archdiocese acknowledged the charges against Ouellet in an email to Radio-Canada, but it did not provide any additional comment.
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