Rome Newsroom, Aug 18, 2022 / 10:11 am (CNA).
The Vatican said Thursday it will not hold a trial against Cardinal Marc Ouellet over allegations he sexually assaulted a woman.
Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, was accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed this week against the Archdiocese of Quebec.
A Vatican spokesman said Aug. 18 that the conclusion of a preliminary investigation by Father Jacques Servais, SJ, found “that there are no elements to initiate a trial against Cardinal Ouellet for sexual assault.”
AFP reported that a class action suit, filed Aug. 16, includes the testimony of 101 people who say they were sexually assaulted by clerics or Church staff from 1940 to the present. Eighty-eight clerics face accusations in the suit.
Ouellet is accused by a woman who says that he assaulted her multiple times while she worked as a pastoral intern for the Quebec archdiocese between 2008 and 2010, while he was Archbishop of Quebec. She described him kissing her and sliding his hand down her back to her buttock.
The Vatican statement included a quote in French from Servais, the Vatican investigator, who said that “there are no grounds to open an investigation into the sexual assault of F. by Card. M. Ouellet. Neither in his written report sent to the Holy Father nor in the testimony via Zoom that I subsequently took in the presence of a member of the Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee, did this person make an accusation that would provide grounds for such an investigation.”
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni added that “following further pertinent consultations, Pope Francis declares that there are insufficient elements to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against person F.”
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