Apostolic Nuncio in France was left without immunity
Luigi Ventura, apostolic nuncio in France, faces six accusations for sexual abuse. With this decision, the Holy See will allow a civil trial.
The Vatican withdrew diplomatic immunity from the apostolic nuncio in France, Luigi Ventura, investigated for alleged sexual assaults, as confirmed by the French Foreign Ministry on Monday.
The French Prosecutor's Office had requested in March that diplomatic immunity be withdrawn and its request was processed through the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs, which was the one that made the final communication to the Holy See. In making this decision, the Holy See will allow a civil trial in France for its representative.
The Vatican confirmed Monday that the decision was transmitted to French authorities last week. I confirm that the Holy See renounces the jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by the apostolic nuncio in France, Monsignor Luigi Ventura, under the Vienna Convention, said the interim spokesperson of the press office of the Vatican, Alessandro Gisotti.
The Holy See, officially communicated the decision to the French authorities last week, said he had waited to make this decision to the conclusions of the preliminary investigation of the trial against the apostolic nuncio.
It all began in February of this year, when it was revealed that the Paris Prosecutor's Office had opened an investigation against the apostolic nuncio after receiving four complaints, three of which accused him of sexual assault. Since then, it was learned of the existence of a total of six complaints within France.
Two of these supposed facts apparently took place in January 2018 and 2019 at the City Hall of Paris, during the traditional reception that the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, offers to the diplomatic corps on the occasion of the New Year.
One of the six men accusing the apostolic nuncio in France of having touched him directly presented his denunciation in the Vatican after assuring that the Holy See invoked its diplomatic immunity in the French criminal investigation. Mathieu De La Souchère met with one of the sexual abuse advisers after presenting a report in Paris earlier this year, in which he accused the apostolic nuncio of the Vatican of repeatedly touching his buttocks in public during an official reception on the 17th. January of this year in the city of Paris, where he works.
The nuncio Luigi Ventura denies the facts by those who accuse him and denounced a plot of the victims.