Vatican clears Cardinal Lacroix over sexual abuse allegations

Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, targeted by a class action brought against the diocese of Quebec in connection with gestures of a sexual nature, will not be targeted by canonical procedures following a Vatican investigation.

Pope Francis had mandated retired Quebec judge André Denis to investigate allegations of sexual acts against a 17-year-old complainant. The results of the investigation were presented to the pope in early May.

In light of the facts examined by Judge Denis, this report does not make it possible to identify any act of misconduct or abuse on the part of Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix. Consequently, a further canonical procedure is not envisagedwe can read in a Vatican press release.

Cardinal Lacroix could have been put on trial if the likelihood facts had been established, which is not the case according to Judge Denis’ investigation, the results of which were revealed this morning, Tuesday.

Limited information gathering

The investigation is, however, incomplete. Judge Denis recalled that the complainant refused to meet him and provide him with a statement, which limited her gathering of information. I had to fall back on the press review of January 2024 emanating largely from the plaintiff’s law firm.

The use of these documents is certainly not the ideal proof, but it is the only one that I found to try to understand the criticisms made to Cardinal Lacroix.

A quote from André Denis, retired judge commissioned by Pope Francis

The judge said he consulted the archives and members of the Diosece of Quebec and the Pius X Secular Institute, where Cardinal Lacroix evolved.

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The Honorable André Denis.

Photo: Radio-Canada

I found nothing there that could help me identify some elements relating to the act accused of Cardinal Lacroix in the collective action, neither in 1987-1988, nor since the cardinal was on a priestly mission until this day in the Diosece of Quebeche indicates.

The alleged facts do not fit with the research, specifies Judge Denis. If I cannot affirm that his denunciation is unfounded, I certainly cannot endorse it on the basis of the facts revealed by my investigation.he adds.

The man collected the Cardinal’s version of the facts, which he judged calm, spontaneous and credible. Monsignor Lacroix collaborated in my investigation in all the ways that I deemed useful and affirms that he never committed the acts for which he is accused.adds the retired judge.

Cardinal Lacroix, who temporarily stepped down from his duties following the allegations, will offer his comments soon. He has always denied the allegations against him.

The diocese of Quebec must react during the day.

Violated procedure

As soon as the investigation was announced, Me Alain Arsenault, lawyer in civil law and responsible for the collective action against the diocese, rejected the procedure initiated by the Holy See, describing it as stale.It was our client’s choice to participate in the civil process in Quebec and not to participate in the process of the Vatican and its system.reacted the lawyer.

Mr. Denis is part of a heavily criticized investigation process […] The Vatican does not have a monopoly on justice.

A quote from Me Alain Arsenault, lawyer for the plaintiff responsible for the class action
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Me Alain Arsenault.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Even if Judge Denis had recommended holding a canonical trial, Me Arsenault does not believe that the complainant would have had the right to a fair and equitable trial. That’s absolutely not itwarns the lawyer, recalling that such procedures had had harmful consequences on the plaintiffs in the past.

The results of the investigation have no influence on the class action, specifies the lawyer.

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