Papal nuncio under investigation for sexual assault
PARIS – Italian bishop Luigi Ventura, papal nuncio to France, is under investigation for sexual assault accusations. The city prosecutor’s office is reviewing a report from a young man who claimed that Ventura “molested a municipal official,” Il Fatto Quotidiano reported, quoting from French newspaper Le Monde.
The victim is allegedly a young official of the capital’s City Hall. The report claims that during an official ceremony at the Hotel de Ville on Jan. 17, the 74-year-old nuncio repeatedly violated the official.
Paris City Hall reported the facts to the prosecution on Jan. 23 on the basis of Article 40 which obliges the authorities to inform the prosecutor of every possible crime. According to judicial sources, prosecutor Remi Heitz immediately opened an investigation into the sexual assault allegations.
Of Lombard origin, the Vatican ambassador in France has represented the Holy See in Paris since 2009. The harassment of which he is accused took place during the a ceremony addressing civil, diplomatic and religious authorities.
According to a City Hall source, “the Nuncio repeatedly let his hands wander,” however Ventura declined to comment.
A Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti said “The Holy See is waiting for the investigation’s conclusion.”