Cardinal Marc Ouellet CNS photo/Paul Haring

Cardinal Ouellet announces lawsuit against woman who claimed assault

  • December 13, 2022

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has launched a $100,000 defamation suit against a woman who accused him in a civil suit of sexually abusing her, the Associated Press is reporting.

AP quotes Tuesday’s defamation action as saying the woman, who has been publicly identified only as F., caused the Cardinal “significant psychological anguish” and “seriously tarnished” his reputation in Quebec, Canada and abroad.

“To associate Mr. Ouellet with such acts creates, in the mind of the ordinary citizen, the perception that Mr. Ouellet is an individual of the same ilk (as clerical abusers), which he is clearly not,” the wire service report cites the lawsuit.

Ouellet is reportedly promising any damages resulting from the suit will be donated to Indigenous healing from sexual abuse.

The woman’s allegations, and Ouellet’s defamation claim spring from a class action suit allowed to go forward earlier this year by a Quebec Superior Court judge. Media pounced when Ouellet’s name was among the priests named in the suit given his Vatican prominence as Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops under Pope Benedict XVI and his appointment by Pope Francis as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy. The Catholic Register also gave front page coverage to both the allegations and Ouellet’s vehement denial at the time the allegations surfaced.

When they arose, he said he did not even remember meeting F., much less touching her sexually or inappropriately when he was the top cleric in Quebec.

AP cites his lawsuit as saying even if the events did occur as she claimed, they would not amount to sexual abuse. None of the civil suit allegations or count-allegations have been tested in court.

Last modified on December 14, 2022

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