Class-action lawsuit alleges sexual abuse by prominent Quebec cardinal and priest

In that lawsuit, a woman identified as “F” alleged that Cardinal Marc Ouellet touched her against her will and forced her to perform sexual acts on another priest, Father Leopold Manirabarusha.

According to the lawsuit, “F” said he met Ouellet over lunch in 2008 while serving as an intern for the Diocese of Quebec. Later that evening, she claims in the legal filing, she “felt two hands land on her shoulders and begin to forcefully massage her shoulders. F looks over to see Cardinal Mark Ouellet standing behind her massaging her shoulders. Cardinal Mark Ouellet smiles at her and pats her before leaving. backstabbing.”

In the lawsuit, “F” said the incident was intrusive and made her feel uneasy.

In another incident in 2008, “F'” again came into contact with Ouellet, according to the lawsuit. Another priest asked if he knew “F,” and he replied very loudly that “they both know each other very well. Cardinal Mark Ouellet accidentally kissed ‘F’ even though they had only seen each other once. Or twice before, and according to the lawsuit, his back.” He holds her firmly against him while stroking his hands.

“F” claimed that the last time she had contact with Ouellet was in February 2010. According to the lawsuit, Ouellette told her she could kiss him again because “there’s no harm in spoiling yourself a little.”

“F” said she didn’t say anything out of concern that her internship and professional future depended on Ouellette, according to the lawsuit.

After attending training on sexual assault, “F” began having flashbacks of what she had experienced with Cardinal Mark Ouellet, according to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Ouellette’s interactions with her constituted touching of a sexual nature without consent, and she became aware of the sexual assault and decided to inform her new partner and some female friends.

According to the lawsuit, one of these friends suggested she talk about the sexual abuse with the Catholic Church’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable People in Quebec.

In a statement released by Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, the preliminary investigation conducted by Fr. Jacques Servais, SI, at the Pope’s request, concluded that “there are no grounds to initiate a trial for sexual abuse against Cardinal Ouellet.”

“Following further relevant consultations, Pope Francis has declared that there are insufficient factors to open a canonical investigation into sexual abuse by Cardinal Ouellet against Person F,” Bruni said in a statement.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec acknowledged the allegations made in the lawsuit against Cardinal Ouellet but said it had no response.

Additionally, in the lawsuit, “F” described sexual abuse by another priest of the Diocese of Quebec, Father Leopold Manibarusha.

According to the filing, “F” alleged that he was forced to perform sexual acts for Manirabarusha while an employee of the diocese. She alleged in the lawsuit that Manirabarusha took her to his library one day and made it clear that she expected him to perform oral sex on her. “F” complied with his demands, seeing no other way.

On about 15 separate occasions, according to the lawsuit, Manirabarusha sexually assaulted her at various locations, including church property and a hotel.

The Archdiocese of Quebec confirmed that Manirabarusha is still a Catholic priest and “but he has been out of duty for suspension since the beginning of April. So, until the whole matter is settled, he cannot have any pastoral intervention with the people.”

Cardinal Mark Ouellet has been one of the most prominent Vatican cardinals for over a decade. His name was raised as a possible pope at the 2013 conclave, according to a CNN report at the time.

He has been the head of the powerful Vatican bishops’ office since 2010. The office is responsible for overseeing and overseeing Catholic bishops worldwide and works closely with Pope Francis. According to published bulletins of papal meetings, Cardinal Ouellet meets with the pope weekly to update him on developments in his office.

In 2019, after turning 75, Ouellet tendered his resignation to Pope Francis as required by Vatican law, but Francis did not accept it, as Ouellet took his place, CNN confirmed.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in an email to CNN, said it could not confirm whether there was a criminal investigation and that investigations are usually confirmed when criminal charges are recommended against someone.

CNN has reached out to Quebec City’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions about possible criminal investigations and said by email that it does not have any public information regarding the case at this time.

SNAP, a survivor’s network of priests who have been sexually abused in institutional settings for over 30 years, released a statement: “We applaud the courage of all the victims involved in this case. We hope they are able to continue and receive the justice and healing they deserve. Given the importance of her accuser, Cardinal Ouellet’s alleged The victim will undoubtedly receive intense public scrutiny and we recognize that she has had enough courage to come forward.”

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