April 10, 2021

France investigates apostolic nuncio for alleged sexual assault | Society

France investigates apostolic nuncio for alleged sexual assault | Society

The highest representative of Vatican In France, the apostolic nuncio Luigi Ventura, 74, is being investigated by the Prosecutor's Office in Paris for alleged "sexual assaults" against a young worker of the City Hall of the French capital.

The facts allegedly occurred on January 17, during the traditional presentation of their purposes for the new year of the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, speech attended by, among others, the diplomatic corps. "There was an incident during [la ceremonia] and, quickly, the decision was made to inform the public prosecutor of the Republic, "Patrick Klugman, deputy mayor responsible for international relations, told Agence France Presse.

According Le Monde, who advanced the news, The alleged sexual assault occurred when the apostolic nuncio accompanied the mayor from his office to the room where he delivered his speech. While he is the oldest diplomatic representative in France, the apostolic nunciature has a special role during this ceremony, Klugman told the newspaper. Traditionally, the nuncio also delivered a speech, but since the election of the socialist Hidalgo is limited to accompany the mayor to the podium. Supposedly it was during that walk when Ventura made "several times" sexual touching to a young worker, member of the general delegation of international relations (DGRI) of the mayor's office, which is in charge of receiving the diplomats on occasions like this.

According to sources from the mayor's office told France Info, Ventura "repeatedly stroked the buttocks" of the agent, about 30 years old, something that also happened in front of "witnesses". After informing his superiors, the mayor's office transmitted the facts on January 23 to the Prosecutor's Office, which a day later decided to open an investigation for "sexual assault", although the facts have not been known until now.

The Nunciature has not wanted to pronounce itself so far. Meanwhile, the Vatican has declared via its acting director of the press office, Alessandro Gisotti, who is waiting "Of the result of the investigations" about a case that "has met through the press." Because he is the representative of the Pope, the nuncio has diplomatic immunity, which can complicate investigations. Le Monde

Doctor in Modern Letters and a Canon Law graduate, Ventura joined the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1978 and was apostolic nuncio in Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso or Niger, before being sent to Chile in 1999, since he held for two years, before to leave for Canada. In 2009 he was sent by Pope Benedict XVI to Paris to replace Fortunato Baldelli, appointed to a post in Rome.

After echoing the news, the LGTBI magazine Tetu He said have received the testimony of another man who claims to have been similarly harassed by the Vatican nuncio during another similar ceremony – in France it is a tradition for institutions to take vows at the beginning of the year – celebrated in January. "He greeted me with his right hand and he touched my ass with his left," he told the publication, which does not reveal his identity. When he did it a second time, in the middle of the room, "I grabbed his hand to make him understand that it was not something spoiled". The alleged second victim described the nuncio as "one of those men who rub on the subway" and was willing to testify or also file a complaint.


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