Senior Cardinal Mark Olette has said the allegations of sexual abuse are false. He has “firmly” denied acting inappropriately towards the woman and considers the description and dissemination of the allegations defamatory, the 78-year-old Canadian said in a statement released by the Holy See on Friday. “If a civil trial is opened, I want to actively participate in it so that the truth is established and my innocence recognized,” he said.
A woman is suing Ouellet in Canada because, according to media reports, he allegedly touched her inappropriately several times between 2008 and 2010 — for example on her back and buttocks. Olette was then archbishop of the Diocese of Quebec in French-speaking Canada, and the woman was an intern there. Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, announced on Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to launch an investigation under canon law into sexual abuse.
Cardinal Olette is an influential figure in the Catholic Church. In 2010, he was ordained by Pope Benedict XVI, who is now Emeritus. Presides over the Dicastery for Bishops – a central and powerful authority in the Vatican that takes care of appointing church members, for example. Ouellet is part of the inner circle around Francis and was traded in 2013 as a potential heir to Peter’s throne.
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