France call on the Vatican to remove diplomatic immunity of envoy

Daily Mail

March 1, 2019

By Miranda Aldersley

France called on the Vatican to take action on Friday and revoke the diplomatic immunity of its envoy to Paris after sex abuse charges were filed against him.

French judicial sources said in mid-February that they were investigating 74-year-old papal ambassador Luigi Ventura for allegedly molesting employees at the Paris mayor’s office.

Italian-born Ventura has been based in Paris since 2009 and serves as a diplomat for Pope Francis.

From 2001 to 2009 he served as the Vatican envoy to Canada, where he is also being investigated for alleged sexual assault.

‘I am waiting for the Holy See to assume its responsibilities,’ French European Minister Nathalie Loiseau told CNEWS television when asked if Ventura should see his diplomatic immunity lifted.

‘At this stage he (Ventura) has diplomatic immunity, but the Holy See obviously knows about the serious charges against the nuncio, and I have no doubt the Vatican will take the right decision,’ Loiseau said.

Ventura is accused of molesting a man at the town hall in Paris on January 17 when Mayor Anne Hidalgo gave a New Year’s address to diplomats, religious leaders and civil society figures.

‘During the ceremony, a city employee was repeatedly groped on the backside, in three instances, once in front of a witness,’ a town hall source said.

‘It was quickly decided to report the matter to the public prosecutor,’ said Patrick Klugman, deputy mayor responsible for international relations.

Prosecutors launched a probe into the alleged ‘sexual aggression’ on January 25 – a day after the mayor’s office filed a complaint.

The investigation is being conducted by Paris police, according to a judicial source not authorised to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing.

A similar complaint has also been filed by a former Paris city employee for a case that allegedly took place a year ago, city hall officials said.

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