"Wilbur Sargunaraj meets Jean Vanier, May 2012" by Kotukaran / CC BY-SA 3.0

Catholic charity founder sexually abused women, says report

Feb 24, 2020

By the Associated Press

A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for people with developmental disabilities for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released on Saturday by the France-based charity he founded.

The report produced for L’Arche International said the women’s descriptions provided enough evidence to show that Jean Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.

Although he was a layman and not a priest, many Catholics hailed Vanier, who was Canadian, as a living saint for his work with disabled people. He died last year aged 90.

“The alleged victims felt deprived of their free will and so the sexual activity was coerced or took place under coercive conditions,” the report, commissioned last year and prepared by the UK-based GCPS Consulting group, said. It did not rule out other potential victims.

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