Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet Files Defamation Suit Over Sex Abuse Allegations

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet Files Defamation Suit Over Sex Abuse Allegations

Cardinal Marc Ouellet on Dec. 13 announced in a statement that he had sued a female for defamation. The cardinal claimed the woman issued false accusations of sexual impropriety against him relative to a class-action filing opposite the Archdiocese of Quebec in Canada.

'Not Guilty of Reprehensible Behaviors'

A Catholic World Report said the Canadian cardinal claimed innocence in the sexual accusations hurled against him and other members of the Quebec archdiocese.

"I have never been guilty of these reprehensible behaviors, much less of those alleged against other members of the clergy cited in the class action. This inappropriate association, intentionally constructed and widely spread for improper purposes, must be denounced," Catholic World Report quoted Ouellet explaining in his press statement.

The cardinal, Quebec's archbishop between 2002 to 2010, leads the Vatican's Dicastery for Bishops, which assists the sitting pope in assessing prelates identified as potential bishops.

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Details of the Lawsuits

Ouellet explained that he first ensured the woman's anonymity before he issued his statement about the lawsuit. The cardinal said he had filed the defamation case with Quebec courts "to prove the falsity of the allegations made against me and to restore my reputation and honor."

Ouellet's defamation suit demands $74,000 in compensatory damages. The cardinal explained that he would donate to the country's indigenous peoples any amount he would get if he won the defamation suit. He reportedly filed the case before the District of Montreal superior court's civil division. 

According to the news outlet, the woman's false accusations of sexual impropriety against Ouellet have caused the cardinal "significant psychological anguish."

The report added that the woman's wrongful sexual abuse allegations 'have caused and continuously cause' significant damage to the cardinal's "personal and professional reputation." 

The prelate's lawsuit stemmed from the allegation made by an unnamed woman claiming Ouellet sexually assaulted her. Aside from him, the class-action case also named 87 other lyrics all over the Archdiocese of Quebec's jurisdiction.

The case was filed in August this year. It contained testimonies from 101 individuals who alleged that Catholic clerics and Church staff sexually abused them beginning in the 1940s.

Accordingly, Vatican authorities began probing the allegations in the same month. The news outlet said Pope Francis decided not to start a canonical inquiry into allegations against Cardinal Ouellet due to the absence of actionable evidence to support the woman's claim.

Catholic World Report added that Ouellet's accuser, named simply as "F," claimed in her lawsuit that the 78-year-old Canadian cardinal touched and kissed her without her consent back when she was a pastoral intern for the archdiocese. The woman said the cardinal's inappropriate gestures toward her happened from 2008 to 2010.

Cardinal Ouellet mentioned in his lawsuit that the alleged sexual assault incidents happened in four separate instances. 

The first was in the fall of 2008 at a Beauport event of the Sisters of Charity. The second incident reportedly occurred in November 2008 during a pastoral appointment event.

The third alleged instance happened in a church basement while a meeting was underway. The fourth incident occurred in February 2010 at a church's diaconal ordination ceremony.

The cardinal had denied all four allegations of sexual impropriety.

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