Cardinal Marc Ouellet targeted by a second complaint and cleared by the Vatican
Cardinal Marc Ouellet would have been the subject other allegations of sexual misconduct from a second complainant, in the fall of 2020, a few months before the recently publicized case of Paméla Groleau.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet is prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops. (File photo)
These revelations are contained in an article in the Catholic magazine Golias Hebdo, in France, which published at the same time a letter from the diocese of Quebec confirming this information, and of which Radio-Canada obtained a copy.
The new allegations come from a woman who presents himself under the pseudonym of Marie. They were transmitted directly to the Vatican and were the subject of a preliminary investigation at the end of which Pope Francis did not press charges.
The letter sent to the complainant in June 2021 is signed by the Archbishop of Quebec, Mgr Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, and informs her of the decision that has just been rendered. It does not contain any details on the acts which are alleged and which date back to 2008 and 2009.
The allegations of sexual misconduct that you brought to my attention a few months ago, aimed at His Eminence Cardinal Marc Ouellet, were directly transmitted by me to Pope Francis, the Cardinal's immediate superior, writes the Archbishop.
The pope would have dismissed all reproach, finding no reason to subsequently consider the incrimination at the expense of Cardinal Ouellet, can we read in this letter.
The preliminary investigation would have was carried out following new procedures promulgated by Pope Francis in 2019 to combat sexual abuse and ensure that bishops and religious superiors targeted by allegations of misconduct are held accountable for their actions.
The letter is silent, however, on the identity of the person to whom this investigation was entrusted, but it specifies that it was carried out without direct or indirect participation of the Archdiocese of Quebec. Bishop Lacroix specifies that testimonies were collected, both in Quebec and in Rome, although the steps were taken remotely due to the circumstances imposed by the pandemic.
According to the spokesperson for the Diocese of Quebec, Valérie Roberge-Dion, the complaint was forwarded to the pope as soon as it was reported to Bishop Lacroix and the investigation was entirely directed by the supreme authority.
The article in the magazine Golias Hebdo reveals that it was Father Jacques Servais who conducted the preliminary investigation, without however meeting the complainant, information that Radio-Canada was also able to confirm.
Father Servais and Cardinal Ouellet know each other. They both worked with Casa Balthazar in Rome, an organization dedicated to the study and teaching of the thought of two theologians of whom they are disciples. They collaborated on the publication of a book on the subject.
It was also Father Jacques Servais who conducted the preliminary investigation into the allegations of misconduct brought almost at the same time by pastoral worker Paméla Groleau, and recently made public as part of a class action aimed at the diocese of Quebec. Again, Father Servais concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations. Cardinal Ouellet firmly denied the acts of which he is accused and replied with a defamation suit.
The two cases are completely separate.
The rules issued by Pope Francis require that the investigator be required to act impartially and without conflicts of interest. However, there are other people in Rome who could have carried out this investigation completely independently, explained theologian Jean-Guy Nadeau in an interview he gave to Enquête last summer, when the first allegations have surfaced in court documents.
In addition, the investigator must render a decision within 90 days of receiving the complaint. In the latter case, Marie had to wait nine months before receiving an answer.
Former archbishop of Quebec and now a close adviser to the pope, Cardinal Ouellet is prefect of the Dicastery for bishops since 2010, one of the most important functions of the Vatican government.
At the time of publishing this article, it had not responded to our request for comment .
The Diocese of Quebec wishes to remind you of the existence of its telephone line as well as its email address to report any situation of abuse: 581-316-2010 or assistance@ecdq. org.
With the collaboration of Sonia Desmarais.