Cardinal Gérald Lacroix Named in Class Action Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Archdiocese of Quebec

Rome – Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, a prominent ally of Pope Francis, has been named in a class action sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec in Canada. The lawsuit, authorized in 2022, covers anyone who was sexually assaulted by personnel of the Archdiocese since 1940. Cardinal Lacroix is accused of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old girl on two occasions in 1987 and 1988. This makes him the second Canadian cardinal to be implicated in the lawsuit, following the allegations against Cardinal Marc Ouellet in 2022. However, a Vatican investigation found “no grounds” for action against Ouellet and he filed a counter-suit for defamation.

According to a spokesperson for Lacroix, there is shock over the new charge. Different versions of the allegations against the cardinal are circulating, and they are currently trying to understand the situation. Lacroix, a former missionary in Colombia, played a leading role in Pope Francis’s visit to Canada in 2022. He was appointed by the Pope last March to serve on his Council of Cardinal Advisors, a position that grants him significant influence on matters of church reform. Lacroix is described as one of Francis’s most important advisors.

The victim in Lacroix’s case, now in her 50s, had not previously come forward due to concerns about her devout Catholic parents’ reaction. The alleged assaults occurred when she accompanied her parents to a Bible study in Quebec. According to her lawyer, she claims Lacroix pulled her into a separate room on two occasions, groped her, and instructed her not to tell her mother. She said he told her that it would “kill her” if her mother found out what had happened.

The law firm leading the class action lawsuit has reported a total of 147 people coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse and assault against over 100 priests and lay personnel of the archdiocese. Some individuals are accused of having multiple victims. Attorney Alain Arsenault, who is leading the case, expects the trial to take place after the year of requesting and evaluating documents and interviewing witnesses, including Lacroix.

It is important to note that neither Ouellet nor Lacroix have been charged with any crime, as the class action suit is a civil action seeking monetary damages. The case against Lacroix is still in the preliminary stages, and it remains to be seen how it will unfold in the coming months.