February 22, 2020
By Sylvie Corbet
A respected Catholic figure who worked to improve conditions for the developmentally disabled for more than half a century sexually abused at least six women during most of that period, according to a report released 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 the disabled. He died last year at age 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 by L’Arche last year and prepared by the U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, said. It did not rule out potential other victims.
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