Canadian Cardinal Lacroix named in sexual abuse lawsuit

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ACI Prensa Staff, Jan 26, 2024 / 18:00 pm

The archbishop of Quebec, Canada, Cardinal Gerald Lacroix, has been accused of abusing a 17-year-old teenager almost four decades ago.

The allegations are included as part of a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Quebec and were made public in court on Thursday.

As reported by the AFP news agency and according to lawyer Alain Arsenault, who is representing a group of plaintiffs against the Archdiocese of Quebec, the accusation dates back to 1987 and 1988, when the alleged victim was 17 years old.

Arsenault said he expects additional victims to join the lawsuit, which originated in 2022 and initially involved 101 people who were allegedly “sexually assaulted” by priests and laypeople since 1940.

The new court documents, AFP notes, list 46 new alleged victims, bringing the total number of people suing the archdiocese to 147.

Lacroix, 66, is a member of the Council of Cardinals advising Pope Francis.

Valerie Roberge-Dion, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Quebec, said in a statement that “we are still in shock trying to understand these new developments.”

Cardinal Ouellet also previously named

In the initial 2022 filing of the lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Bishops at the Vatican who served as archbishop of Quebec between 2003 and 2010, also faced sexual abuse allegations.

That accusation came from a woman identified as “F.” In 2022 and according to AFP, the alleged victim reported having been abused several times. She said the cardinal allegedly kissed her and touched her inappropriately.

In August 2022, Ouellet defended his innocence, calling the accusations of sexual abuse false and firmly denying “having made inappropriate gestures to that person.” 

That same month, the Vatican released a statement in which Pope Francis determined that there were insufficient elements to initiate a canonical investigation against the cardinal.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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