A preliminary Vatican investigation into allegations against Cardinal Marc Ouellet concluded there was not sufficient evidence to warrant formal proceedings against the cardinal for sexual assault, a Vatican spokesman said yesterday. Source: CNS.
However, the Jesuit who did the investigation was a long-time associate of the cardinal.
Pope Francis has been made aware of these findings and, after further consultation, has declared that “there are insufficient elements to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against person F,” Matteo Bruni, head of the Vatican press office, said in a written statement yesterday.
Mr Bruni wrote that a preliminary investigation ordered by Pope Francis had been completed and that it concluded there were no facts or “elements to initiate a trial against Cardinal Ouellet for sexual assault.” The Canadian cardinal is prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Bishops.
Mr Bruni confirmed that Belgian Jesuit Father Jacques Servais had been chosen by the Pope to conduct the preliminary study after Cardinal Ouellet was accused of actions allegedly committed against a young laywoman, identified as “F” in Canadian court documents in a class action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec.
Based on Fr Servais’ findings and after “following further relevant consultations, Pope Francis declares that there are insufficient elements to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against person F,” Mr Bruni said.
In the class action lawsuit, Cardinal Ouellet was accused of actions allegedly committed against a young laywoman who was employed as a pastoral worker in 2008, when the cardinal was archbishop of Quebec. Court documents filed on Tuesday indicate the actions consisted in “non-consensual touching of a sexual nature.”
Pope says not enough evidence to try cardinal for sexual assault (By François Gloutnay, CNS)