Ex-nuncio to France to be tried in Paris for sexual assault

Ex-nuncio to France to be tried in Paris for sexual assault

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A retired Vatican diplomat charged with sexual assault is expected to appear before the Paris criminal court in November.

Archbishop Luigi Ventura resigned as Nuncio to France in December 2019 at the age of 75. He had served in office for 10 years.

Ventura was accused of inappropriately touching a young male employee of the Paris City Hall in January 2019.

Vincent Plumas, deputy prosecutor and press director of the Paris Prosecutor's Office, confirmed to CNA on July 23 that Ventura "should appear before the Paris Criminal Court on November 10 for sexual assault".

The Vatican lifted Ventura's diplomatic immunity in July 2019 and paved the way for legal proceedings in French courts.

Ventura has been living in Rome since September last year, according to French news agency I. Media.

In early 2019, he was first accused of inappropriately touching an employee at a reception on January 17, 2019 for the New Year's speech by Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo. The charge was then investigated by the Paris authorities for several months.

After the first allegation against Ventura was made, he was again charged with sexual misconduct against an adult male in 2008 in connection with his time in Canada. He has rejected the allegations.

Ventura was apostolic nuncio in Canada from 2001 to 2009.

Christian Vachon, who was 32 at the time of the alleged incident, claims that Ventura touched his buttocks at least twice during a banquet at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré near Quebec.

Ventura was ordained a priest in the Brescia diocese in 1969. In 1978 he entered the Holy See's diplomatic service and was stationed in Brazil, Bolivia and the United Kingdom. From 1984 to 1995 he was appointed State Secretariat in the State Relations Section.

After his episcopal ordination in 1995, Ventura served as a nuncio on the Ivory Coast, in Burkina Faso, in Niger, in Chile and in Canada. In September 2009 he was appointed apostolic nuncio in France.

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