The Vatican said Thursday that a preliminary church investigation into a sexual assault complaint filed by a Canadian woman against a prominent cardinal, Mark Ouellet, has determined that the case does not warrant further investigation.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement this week in response to reports that Ouellet was one of several named in a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec archdiocese accusing several priests of sexual abuse.
Ouellet, 78, headed the diocese from 2002 to 2010, when he was promoted to the mighty post of prefect of the Vatican bishop’s office. In that role, he oversees all Catholic Church investigations into allegations of sexual abuse involving adults and bishops or cardinals.
Bruni confirmed that the Vatican had received complaints against Ouellet and that they were investigated by the Jesuit theologian, the priest Jacques Servais. Bruni said the Survey determined there was no basis to proceed with a prescribing investigation or trial.
When asked about the lawsuit, Servais said he came to that conclusion after reading the written allegations filed by the woman, who has been identified as “F,” and interviewing him via Zoom as a member of a panel of the diocese. done with.
According to the Vatican statement, Cervais said, “This person did not make any allegations that could provide material for the investigation.”
Therefore, Pope Francis “declares that there are not sufficient elements to initiate a canonical investigation into sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against F,” Bruni’s statement said.
The Catholic Church has tightened its procedures to investigate and punish clergy accused of sexual abuse of minors, but clerics accused of sexual misconduct with adults are rarely punished.
According to the Canadian press and other outlets, the woman accused Ouellet of multiple incidents of groping her back and buttocks at a 2010 event in Quebec City.