Cardinal Marc Ouellet targeted by sexual assault allegations

The Cardinal Marc Ouellet targeted by allegations of sexual assault

Cardinal Ouellet celebrates a mass in his parish of Santa Maria in Traspontina in Rome.

The name of the strong man of the Vatican, tipped to succeed Pope Francis one day, appears in a list made public as part of a class action targeting all sexual assaults allegedly committed by persons under the authority of the Diocese of Quebec since 1940.

C This is the first time Marc Ouellet's name has appeared in these proceedings.

Nearly 80 members of the clergy are targeted by the request, mostly priests, for acts that generally date back to the 1950s and 1960s and which would affect more than a hundred victims, most of whom were minors at the time of the attacks. facts.

Cardinal Ouellet is by far the most well-known and highest-ranking person on this list. He faces no criminal charges.

In her case, the applicant, whose identity is summarized in the letter F in the documents, was doing an internship as a pastoral worker, between 2008 and 2010, when the facts allegedly occurred, during public events.< /p>

She had given her version of the facts to a Investigation team last spring, long before registering for the appeal. This is the same version found in the procedure.

He grabbed me, and there…the hands behind my back, they still went down low enough […] intrusive enough for, say, for someone who is my superior, who is the x27;Archbishop of Quebec, relates the plaintiff.

As it was the second time they had seen each other that week, the Cardinal told her that he could kiss again, because it's okay to spoil yourself a little. It still made me very uncomfortable, then even more the word "spoil". As if I were his treat.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet while he was Archbishop of Quebec, in 2010.

On different occasions, Cardinal Ouellet is said to have hugged her, massaged her shoulders or vigorously stroked her back to where her buttocks meet, each time causing deep discomfort in the young trainee. .

I felt chased. It was getting more and more overwhelming, more and more intense, to the point where I started to stop going to events, trying to avoid being in his presence as much as possible.

Lawyer Alain Arsenault, who represents the plaintiffs, recalls that Cardinal Ouellet was the archbishop and big boss of the diocese, and that he ultimately had the last word on the hiring pastoral workers.

“You have at this point a young woman in her mid-twenties versus a powerful man in authority, known worldwide at the time, who was maybe 60 years old. […] Like the majority of the victims, it froze. »

— Me Alain Arsenault, representing the plaintiffs

When F dares to talk about her discomfort in those around her, she is told that the cardinal is warm and that she is not the only woman to have this kind of problem with him, can we read in the request.

Let's say it was circulating, confirms a priest active in the diocese at the time, who requested anonymity. We believed her, he said, when the young trainee told him about the cardinal's behavior towards her.

We couldn't believe it, he arrived like a sheriff who had come to put order in the diocese of Quebec, he was an envoy from Rome. That he behaved inappropriately with women, we found it very strange on his part, he says.

Although the acts of which he is accused seem less physically serious than in other cases cited by the request, their impact and the sequelae they entail are just as important, according to Me Arsenault. it is difficult to imagine that a person of his intelligence, in a position in which he is, could ignore what he was doing and the consequences it could have.

Marc Ouellet was recalled to Rome and promoted to prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the departments of the Roman Curia, in 2010.

F maintains that things have changed at arrival of Bishop Cyprien Lacroix, his successor. He was much more adjusted. If there was any physical contact, it was a very simple handshake.

At the time of publishing, the lawyer who represents the diocese and those affected by the class action had yet to comment.

Pope Francis with Cardinal Ouellet, during the symposium on the priesthood, in Rome in 2022 .

Still according to the request, it was ten years later, after a trying experience with another priest of the diocese, that F decided to relate the facts to the advisory committee on sexual abuse of the diocese of Quebec, without however identifying the priests.

I approached the committee a bit saying, “But I don't know if I've been a victim, but here's my story.” , says the complainant. I had felt the need to relate all that I had experienced that was inappropriate since my beginnings as a pastoral worker. So, starting from Marc Ouellet.

Committee members reportedly told him that both cases involved sexual misconduct, inviting him to file a complaint. It was only then that the committee learned that it was, among others, Cardinal Ouellet.

The complaint concerning him was transmitted directly to the Vatican in January 2021, where she was entrusted to Father Jacques Servais, a theologian appointed to clear the matter.

A meeting by videoconference took place with the Vatican emissary. A year and a half later, she has not yet been informed of her conclusions.

It contributes to victimizing the person even more, laments lawyer Alain Arsenault. This is what finally motivated the young woman to register for the class action in her turn.

A few facts about the class action aimed at the Diocese of Quebec :

  • 101 people registered in the action as victims;
  • Most of the facts date back to the 1950s and 1960;
  • Persons allegedly committed more than one attack;
  • Several alleged attackers are now deceased;
  • In 1960, the diocese had up to 'to 230 parishes.

Marc Ouellet was appointed Archbishop of Quebec in 2002 and raised to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Iranian nuclear: the outcome of the negotiations seems close
Next post One in four customs officers witnesses discriminatory acts by colleagues