An internal report reveals that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier, a respected Canadian religious figure whose charity work helped improve conditions for the developmentally disabled in multiple countries over half a century, sexually abused at least six women.
Vanier died last year in Paris at age 90.
According to the report seen by the AP Saturday, the women’s descriptions provide evidence enough to show that Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” over a period from 1970 to 2005. The report does not rule out potential other victims.
During the inquiry, commissioned by L’Arche last year and carried out by the independent, U.K.-based GCPS Consulting group, six adult, non-disabled women said Vanier had engaged in sexual relations with them as they were seeking spiritual direction.
According to the report, the women, who have no links to each other, reported similar facts and Vanier’s sexual misconduct was often associated with alleged “spiritual and mystical justifications.”
A statement released by L’Arche France Saturday stressed that some women still have “deep wounds.” Vanier’s actions show “he had a psychological and spiritual hold on these women,” the statement said, adding that nothing suggests that disabled people may have been involved.
Read more at Crux.