Pope says there isn’t enough evidence to open sexual assault inquiry into Quebec cardinal

Pope Francis said Thursday that there was not enough evidence to initiate a formal church investigation into sexual assault allegations against Cardinal Mark Ouellet of Quebec.

The Pope issued a statement through Matteo Bruni, Head of Press at the Holy See.

The sexual assault allegations against Ouellet are part of a class action lawsuit formally filed in the Quebec Superior Court this week. A woman identified as “F”. The Cardinal, once considered a front-runner to become Pope, slammed the cardinal from 2008 to her 2010 at an event in Quebec City, including slipping her hand down her back and touching her buttocks. accused of causing several incidents of sexual assault.

F. wrote to Pope Francis in January 2021 regarding Ouellet and was informed that the Pope had appointed Father Jacques Servais to investigate her allegations.

Bruni said Servais had looked into the matter, but determined there was “no basis to initiate an investigation”. As a result of the consultation, Bruni said, “Pope Francis has declared that there are not enough factors to initiate a formal investigation into the sexual assault of Cardinal Ouellet against Mr F.”

F.’s attorney, Justin Wee, said “she is very disappointed” by the pope’s denial of the church’s investigation, and she is determined to defend her case in civil court.

The lawsuit in which Ouellet is named includes 101 victims who have accused approximately 88 priests or parish officials of sexual assault. It is one of two lawsuits Wee Avocats has filed this week against members of the Catholic Church in Quebec.

Jacob Cerebrin

canadian press