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Pope says not enough evidence to open sex assault probe against Quebec Cardinal

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet is facing allegations of sexual assault in a class-action lawsuit filed this week in Quebec Superior Court.
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Pope Francis, left, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet arrive at the opening of a 3-day Symposium on Vocations in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Feb. 17, 2022. Pope Francis says there is insufficient evidence to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault against Ouellet. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gregorio Borgia

Pope Francis is declaring that there is not enough evidence to open a canonical investigation for sexual assault against Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

The pontiff made the statement today through the director of the Holy See press office.

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

A woman identified as "F." accused the cardinal, once considered a front-runner to become pope, of several incidents of sexual assault between 2008 and 2010, including sliding his hand down her back and touching her buttocks at an event in Quebec City.

F. wrote a letter to Pope Francis in January 2021 regarding Ouellet and was informed that the Pope appointed Father Jacques Servais to investigate her allegations.

The Holy See press office says Servais found no grounds to open an investigation, neither in the letter sent to the Pope by the accuser nor in other testimony collected.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press