Vatican: Canadian Cardinal accused of sex abuse resigns

Vatican: Canadian Cardinal accused of sex abuse resigns
Credit: Belga

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who holds one of the most important positions in the Vatican government and has been accused of sexual assault, resigned on Monday due to age, the Vatican announced.

Pope Francis has accepted “the resignation, due to the age limit, of his eminence, Cardinal Marc Ouellet”, the Vatican said in a statement. His successor, American Robert Francis Prevost, will take office on 12 April.

In August 2022, the 78-year-old cardinal, prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, was accused of inappropriate touching of an intern between 2008 and 2010 when he was Archbishop of Quebec, according to a document resulting from the class action suit admitted by the higher court of the French-speaking Canadian province.

Archbishop Ouellet had “firmly denied” these “defamatory” accusations, saying he was ready to stand trial to prove his innocence. Pope Francis considered then that there were not enough elements to open a religious investigation in the case.

In December, Bishop Ouellet said he would file a complaint for defamation against the woman accusing him of sexual assault.

The Quebec diocese also confirmed to French news agency AFP on Monday the existence of a second complaint against the cardinal, filed by a woman in 2020 and revealed a fortnight ago by the Golias weekly.

Marc Ouellet was cited as one of the favourites for the last conclave, at which Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in 2013.

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