Earlier this week, Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops Cardinal Marc Ouellet was accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed against the Archdiocese of Quebec.
A woman says Ouellet assaulted her multiple times while she worth as an intern in the Archdiocese from 2008 to 2010 when he was Archbishop. AFP and CBC reported that “she alleges he kissed her and slid his hand along her back to her buttocks” at public events.
The suit says the alleged victim wrote to Pope Francis in January of 2021 and next month received an email that Father Jacques Servais was appointed to investigate Ouellet.
After the conclusion of Servais’ preliminary investigation, Pope Francis conducted “further pertinent consultations” and found “there are insufficient grounds to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet regarding person ‘F.'”
Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis entrusted Servais with the preliminary investigation, whose written conclusion was that “there are no grounds to initiate a process against Cardinal Ouellet for sexual assault.”
Bruno went on to say Pope Francis confirmed Servais’ position once more, who did so by saying:
“There are no grounds to open an investigation into the sexual assault undergone by person ‘F.’ by Cardinal M. Ouellet. Neither in the written report sent to the Holy Father, nor in the testimony via Zoom that I subsequently gathered in the presence of a member of the Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee, did this person make any accusation that would provide grounds for such an investigation.”
In the past, Ouellet has been outspoken against abuse, saying in 2018 “we would need participation of more women in training of priests” to prevent abuse and later in 2020 saying “for the priest, learning to relate to women in the context of formation is a humanizing factor which promotes the balance of man’s personality and affectivity.”