Canada sex assault lawsuit names prominent Vatican cardinal

Wed, 17 Aug 2022 10:25 GMT
Former archbishop of Quebec 1 of 88 Catholic clergy accused in diocese.
Canada sex assault lawsuit names prominent Vatican cardinal

A class action lawsuit filed in Canada made public Tuesday includes the name of a Vatican cardinal who is considered a possible successor to Pope Francis.

Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of the province of Quebec, is accused of sexual assault by a woman known only as "F."

The woman said she was an intern when the assaults occurred from 2008 to 2010 in the Quebec diocese.

"He grabbed me and then … his hands on my back, they went down pretty low," F told Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquete in the spring. "Quite intrusive for, let's say for someone who is my superior, who is the archbishop of Quebec."

The go-ahead for the class action was given by a Canadian judge in May but it was not filed until Tuesday.

F is one of more than 100 victims who claim to have been sexually assaulted by 88 priests and staff members of the Quebec diocese since 1940.

She said Quellet kissed her and later that week when he saw her again, said he might as well kiss her again.

His behavior on other occasions included holding her to his body and caressing her back.

"I felt chased after. It became more and more invasive, more and more intense to the point where I stopped attending events. I tried avoiding being in his presence as much as possible," she said.

Alain Arseneault of the law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats, who represents the victims, told Enquete that it was Ouellet who chose pastoral agents.

"You have at that time a young woman in her mid-20s versus a powerful man in a position of authority, known worldwide at the time, who was maybe 60," he said. "Like most victims, she froze."

A second lawsuit against the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Francophone Canada was filed on behalf of 193 alleged victims who have accused 116 members of the group of sexual assault, the law firm said.


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