Adult who accused Quebec cardinal of sexual misconduct breaks church-abuse stereotype

THE CANADIAN PRESS

The woman who recently accused Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet of sexual misconduct has broken a stereotype about church abuse.

Universite de Montreal religious studies professor Solange Lefebvre says the fact Ouellet’s alleged victim was an adult could open the door to more people coming forward with allegations against the church who aren’t children.

Lefebvre says that while sex abuse of children within the Catholic Church is well-documented, these new high-profile allegations could also create opportunities for prosecutors and police to look for potential victims among young women involved with the church.

A woman identified as “F.” in court documents tabled on Tuesday accused Ouellet of several incidents of sexual assault between 2008 and 2010, including sliding his hand down her back and touching her buttocks at an event in Quebec City.

F. is among roughly 300 alleged victims who have made sex-abuse claims against the church in two class-action lawsuits brought by Montreal-based law firm Arsenault Dufresne Wee Avocats and authorized by a judge.

Lawyer Justin Wee says his firm’s class actions demonstrate that it’s not only young children – particularly young boys – who face sexual misconduct by clergy members but also adult women.