Breaking: Pope Francis Says Insufficient Evidence to Investigate Quebec Cardinal

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ope Francis leads the Mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter's Basilica amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the Vatican December 24, 2020. Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS
Pope Francis - Vincenzo Pinto/?Pool via REUTERS

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis stated that there is “insufficient evidence” to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault against Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

The Papa;l announcement was made by declaration through the director of the Holy See press office.

Pope Francis has determined “there are insufficient grounds to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet regarding person ‘F’.” This is what the director of the Holy See’s Press Office Matteo Bruni said in a statement concerning accusations made by a woman against the prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops. The accusations, which came to light in recent days, concern events that took place more than ten years ago, when Ouellet was Archbishop of Quebec City.

In this case, Bruni said, the Pope entrusted a preliminary investigation to Jesuit Father Jacques Servais, whose conclusion was that “there are no grounds to initiate a process against Cardinal Ouellet for sexual assault.”

The statement adds that the Pope then consulted further with Father Servais, who confirmed his position with these words: “There are no grounds to open an investigation into the sexual assault undergone by person ‘F.’ by Cardinal M. Ouellet. Neither in the written report sent to the Holy Father, nor in the testimony via Zoom that I subsequently gathered in the presence of a member of the Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee, did this person make any accusation that would provide grounds for such an investigation.”

Ouellet is facing allegations of sexual assault in a class-action lawsuit introduced this week in Quebec Superior Court.