Vatican investigation absolves Canadian cardinal in assault case

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – An investigation ordered by Pope Francis has cleared Canadian Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of wrongdoing after he was named in a class-action lawsuit that alleged sexual assault, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The pope had asked retired Canadian judge Andre Denis to look into the allegations which were included in the lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec.

The vatican said in a statement that the judge did not “identify any actions that amount to misconduct or abuse” on the part of the cardinal.

“Consequently, no further canonical procedure is foreseen.”

Lacroix, who is a member of the Pope’s advisory council of cardinals, stepped down temporarily in January after it emerged that his name had been added to a list of alleged perpetrators filed in a Quebec court. He has also denied any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit represents almost 150 people who said they had been sexually assaulted by 88 priests and staff working at the Quebec diocese starting in 1940.

The suit includes the names of priests who served in the diocese and at educational institutions, including the Quebec seminary. Most of those named are dead.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Peter Graff)

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