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Senior Vatican cardinal accused of sexual harassment in Canada

Montreal. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a senior Vatican official named some time ago as one of the favorites for the pope, was accused of sexual assault in a class action lawsuit opened on Tuesday in Canada.

The clergyman, current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important functions of the Vatican government, is accused of inappropriately touching an intern between 2008 and 2010, when he was archbishop of Quebec, according to documents from a recognized lawsuit. The Supreme Court of this French-speaking province in May last year.

The revelations come three weeks after Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, during which he apologized for violations committed by members of the Church in boarding schools for indigenous peoples. contacted AFPThe Diocese of Quebec said it “has taken note of the allegations against 78-year-old Cardinal Marc Ouellet” and does not wish “absolutely not to comment on this topic.”

The complaint is among the testimony of 101 people who claim to have been “sexually abused” by more than 80 clergy and laity in the Diocese of Quebec between June 1940 and the present, court documents indicate.

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In the case of Mark Ouellet, the woman identified by the letter “F”. he claims that the cardinal insulted him several times. In 2008, the young woman explained that the cardinal massaged her shoulders “hard” several times and stroked her back, “holding her tightly to him.”

F. tried to dodge the cardinal, but he turned away from her. According to the document, she then “had the impression that she was being persecuted.” In 2010, Ouellet met her twice in one week. It was an opportunity to “kiss her again” because “there’s nothing wrong with being a little pampered,” he would say, according to the same source.

A comment that F. considered “completely inappropriate.” According to her complaint, Cardinal Ouellet “kissed” her and “slid his hand” down her back “to her buttocks”.

Senior Vatican Cardinal Accused Of Sexual Harassment In Canada

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When the applicant dared to speak about these facts, she learned “that she was not the only woman who had such ‘problems’ with him,” the court documents state. It wasn’t until 2020 that F, who said she had also been sexually assaulted by another clergyman, spoke to the Diocese of Quebec’s sexual assault advisory committee about it.

The organization then encouraged him to write a letter to Pope Francis. In 2021, the pontiff responded by appointing “Father Jacques Servais to investigate the case of Cardinal Marc Ouellet”. At the moment, no conclusions have been sent to the applicant.

contacted AFPThe Vatican did not react immediately. Marc Ouelle was named among the favorites of the last conclave that saw Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio elected pope in 2013. In February, during an important symposium at the Vatican in the presence of Pope Francis, Cardinal Ouellet referred to “the drama of sexual abuse perpetrated by the clergy” and criticized “criminal behavior that has been hidden for too long to protect the institution.”

“We are all tormented and humiliated by these critical issues that challenge us every day as members of the Church,” he said at the time. In Canada, the Catholic Church is currently facing several class action lawsuits for sexual harassment. In the west of the country, more than 30 students have sued various Christian school officials, according to the CBC public network.

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