Prominent Vatican cardinal accused in Canada sexual assault lawsuit

Prominent Vatican cardinal accused in Canada sexual assault lawsuit

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Prominent Vatican cardinal accused in Canada sexual assault lawsuit

Vatican Cardinal Marc Ouellet is the highest-ranking clergyman accused in a court document in Canada made public on Tuesday as part of a class action lawsuit against the Quebec Catholic diocese alleging sexual assault, the plaintiffs’ lawyer said.

The lawsuit represents more than 100 people, including minors, who were alleged to have been sexually assaulted by 88 priests and staff working at the ­Quebec diocese starting in 1940, ­according to a court document and a news release issued by the Arsenault Dufresne Wee firm which filed the class action.

In the filing in Quebec Superior Court, an anonymous complainant alleges Ouellet inappropriately touched her, including by rubbing her shoulders and back, and made comments that made her feel uncomfortable.

The document states the interactions took place between 2008 and 2010 when Ouellet was archbishop of Quebec and head of the diocese and she was working as a 23-year-old intern. Ouellet faces no criminal charges.

Ouellet now heads the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for Bishops which advises the pope on which priests should be made bishops. He is on many experts’ shortlists of candidates to succeed Pope Francis after the pontiff dies or resigns. 

One of two resident Canadian cardinals at the Vatican, he accompanied the Pope on his trip to Canada in July.