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Second accusation of sexual misconduct by Catholic Cardinal comes to light
Pope Francis arrives on a wheelchair to meet with participants in the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (IUSG) at the Vatican, May 5, 2022. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

A second charge alleging sexual misconduct by a Roman Catholic Cardinal has surfaced, the Canadian Press reported Friday.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, former archbishop of the Quebec City diocese in Canada and now head of the Vatican's bishops' office, was accused but the charge had not been publicly disclosed.

But a letter dated June 23, 2021 and sent to the woman, whose identity has not been revealed, tells her that her complaint against Ouellet was forwarded directly to Pope Francis.

The letter, signed by the current Quebec City Archbishop Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, said the Pope ordered an investigation and based on the findings, Francis rejected the woman's complaint.

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"Pope Francis communicated to me ... his decision not to retain the accusation against the cardinal," Lacroix wrote.

The letter and action taken were authenticated by Valerie Roberge-Dion, a spokesperson for the Quebec diocese.

"As soon as Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix received this complaint, it was immediately forwarded to Cardinal Ouellet's immediate superior, Pope Francis," she said in an email to the Canadian Press. "From that point on, the investigation was entirely directed by the supreme authority."

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Last week, another woman who alleged sexual misconduct by Ouellet revealed her identity and leveled an accusation that the Catholic Church used "threats and intimidation" in a bid to silence her.

Pamela Groleau, accused Ouellet of incidents of sexual assault between 2008 - she was 23 at the time - and 2010. The incidents included Ouellet sliding his hand down her back and touching her buttocks.

The cardinal has countersued her, saying he never met her. Ouellet has asked for CAN$100,000 (US$75,000) in damages.

Groleau is one of 140 complainants who filed a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec City diocese in August. Her sexual misconduct charges against Ouellet are included in the suit.

Source: anews