Pope Francis ruled out opening a “canonical investigation” for lack of evidence into Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, accused in his country of sexual abuse, the Vatican spokesman said this past Thursday.
“Pope Francis declares that there are not enough elements to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault,” the spokesman said in a statement. The complaints were made by a woman identified with the letter “F.”, who claimed to have been subjected to abuse by the cardinal several times.
The pope’s statement was made after press reports released Tuesday in Canada involving Cardinal Ouellet, 78, current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, among the most important positions in the Vatican government.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni indirectly confirmed that Pope Francis had commissioned Jesuit Jacques Servais to conduct a “preliminary investigation” into these allegations.
No elements to initiate a trial
“The preliminary investigation entrusted by the pope to Father Jacques Servais concluded that there are no elements to initiate a trial against Cardinal Ouellet for sexual assault,” the note explains.
No well-founded reasons
Consulted again after the latest complaints in Canada, “Servais confirmed that there are no well-founded reasons to open an investigation into the sexual assault of person F. by Cardinal Ouellet,” Bruni underlines in the note.
For the Jesuit “neither in the written report sent to the Holy Father, nor in the testimony via Zoom that I later took in the presence of a member of the ‘ad hoc’ Diocesan Committee, did this person make any accusation that would give rise to such an investigation,” he specified.
That complaint is among the testimonies of 101 people who claim they were “sexually assaulted” by more than 80 members of the clergy and lay employees of the diocese of Quebec between June 1940 and the present, according to court documents.