The cardinal’s defamation lawsuit says Ouellet has no recollection of ever meeting the accuser and said her account is inconsistent with his behavior in public settings. His lawsuit further contends that even if the alleged acts took place, which the cardinal denies, they did not constitute “touching of a sexual nature” or sexual assault.
The cardinal’s lawsuit questioned why her story was included in a lawsuit among “reprehensible acts of pedophilia,” saying it was negligence to associate the cardinal with such individuals.
In his June 13 statement, the cardinal said the progress of his lawsuit “demonstrates the importance of relying on the judicial process to uncover the truth.”
“This process has already highlighted the fact that the behavior she is accusing me of (which is otherwise denied) is nothing more than cordial gestures made in the context of public appearances,” he said. “Indeed, the actions in question would all have been taken, without exception, in full view of several people present, very near the alleged events.”
In his view, the evidence shows that he has never interacted privately with Groleau or tried to do so.
“Moreover, the fact that Ms. Groleau allegedly felt pursued because of my presence at certain public events she attended is unjustifiable and essentially amounts to my sitting next to her or greeting her. I was present at diocese events because of my duties and my desire to be close to the community,” he said. “Several people involved in the activities in which I participated will testify at the trial.”
The current evidence “clearly demonstrates” Groleau was “unjustified” to include her allegations in the lawsuit against the Quebec Archdiocese, the cardinal said.
“The acts of which Ms. Groleau accuses me are out of all proportion to the allegations made against the other clergy members. To equate what she alleges with serious sexual assaults in which I have no involvement is simply shocking,” he added. “I continue to believe that if I were not a cardinal, my name would never have been included in these proceedings.
Ouellet’s defamation lawsuit alleged that the “false allegations” against him “have caused and continue to cause serious damage” to the cardinal’s personal and professional reputation. He has also suffered “significant psychological anguish.”
The cardinal’s lawsuit initially sought 100,000 Canadian dollars in compensation, about $74,000. He said any financial compensation would be donated to support efforts to combat sexual abuse of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Ouellet served as archbishop of Quebec from 2002 to 2010. He later served as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, a key Vatican body that helps the pope evaluate prospective candidates to be named Catholic bishops. The cardinal resigned from that body in January, citing age.
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