Cardinal Marc Ouellet was the former archbishop of Quebec. In a recent class action, he and 88 other clergy members were accused of sexually abusive behavior and other wrongdoing, but the Vatican says there isn’t enough evidence to start a church investigation.
Matteo Bruni, who works as a spokesman for Pope Francis, said this Thursday morning.
Ouellet works at the Vatican and is thought to be a possible successor to the Pope. In the lawsuit, a woman named “F” says that Ouellet touched and kissed her without her permission and sexually harassed her.
In its declaration, the Vatican says that religious scholar Jacques Servais, who’d been asked to do an initial examination into the claims, discovered nothing that called for further punishment.
“There is no reason to start an investigation into the claims that Ouellet sexually assaulted F.,” Servais said in his remark. “Neither in her formal statement to the Holy Father nor on Zoom,” she said.
But Radio-show Canada’s Enquête looked into it and found that Servais may have had a conflict of interest.
Jean-Guy Nadeau, a theologian, said that according to the Vatican’s rules on sexual assault, any claims against a church leader must always be disclosed to the church leader of the church in which the priest works.
He said, “Seeing as Cardinal Ouellet has been in Rome, the Pope is his bishop.”
This same 78-year-old cardinal is in charge of choosing new bishops at the Vatican. This is one of the most important jobs in the Catholic Church.
If the Vatican was serious about conducting that inquiry, they should have picked someone other than someone who is familiar with Cardinal Ouellet and has dealt with him in the past.
We questioned not just the content of the statement but also its timing, which came well over 1 year and a 1/2 after F had lodged the complaints with the Vatican.
A decree from the Pope gave Servais a deadline of ninety days to reach a conclusion about his investigation.
Additional victims have joined the lawsuit.
The class-action complaint is being brought on behalf of more than one hundred victims, including F. The plaintiffs allege that priests and other employees working for the such diocese since 1940 sexually molested them, the majority of whom were minors at the time of the alleged assaults.
According to the records filed in the case, the majority of the alleged attacks occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.
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