Preliminary investigation finds no evidence of abuse by Québec cardinal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A preliminary canonical investigation found no evidence of abuse or misconduct committed by Cardinal Gérald Lacroix of Québec, who had been anonymously accused of abuse, the Vatican said.

A report of the investigation, given to Pope Francis, “does not permit to identify any actions that amount to misconduct or abuse on the part of Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix,” the Vatican said in a statement May 21.

It added that “no further canonical procedure is foreseen” regarding Cardinal Lacroix.

Background of allegations

In January, the cardinal was named in court documents pertaining to a class-action lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Québec in 2022. The allegations against Cardinal Lacroix involved two alleged incidents from 1987 and 1988, in which the cardinal is accused of touching a 17-year-old girl on two occasions when he was a religious brother. The accuser was not identified.

Pope Francis assigned retired Judge André Denis of the Superior Court of Québec the task of investigating the allegations included in the lawsuit in February. The Vatican statement specified that Denis’ report was given to the pope May 6.

In 2023, Cardinal Lacroix was named among the nine-member Council of Cardinals, a consultative body created to advise the pope on key issues.

Judge’s statement on findings

In a news conference presenting his findings in Québec May 21, Denis said “I turned over all the stones,” in forming his report and that he told the pope: “I see nothing in all that I’ve seen, archives, the people I met with, the places I visited” that could “link Cardinal Lacroix to the minimal accusation” that is part of the larger lawsuit.

However he conceded that “the great weakness of my report is that I could not find the plaintiff” that accused the cardinal of abuse.

“I did everything to find the plaintiff and she did not want (to be found),” he said. “The pope knows, he saw all the details in the 70 pages I gave him.”

Pope Francis authorized Denis to issue a statement summarizing his findings and to respond to questions about the report, the Vatican statement specified.

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