Vatican envoy accused of sexually assaulting Paris official

Archbishop Luigi Ventura suspected of molesting male staffer during mayor’s address

Photograph taken in January 2018 shows French president Emmanuel Macron shaking hands with Archbishop Luigi Ventura at the Élysée Palace in Paris. File photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Photograph taken in January 2018 shows French president Emmanuel Macron shaking hands with Archbishop Luigi Ventura at the Élysée Palace in Paris. File photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

 

French authorities are investigating allegations that the Vatican’s ambassador to France molested a junior official in Paris’s City Hall, a City Hall official said on Friday.

The official told Reuters that Archbishop Luigi Ventura (74), who has held the ambassador post in Paris for the past decade, was suspected of having touched the buttocks of the male junior staffer during mayor Anne Hidalgo’s New Year address.

The archbishop “caressed in an insistent and repeated manner the young man’s buttocks during the ceremony”, the City Hall official said.

“He put his hands on his buttocks several times.”

A judicial source confirmed a preliminary investigation against the envoy was under way.

The Vatican learned about the investigation from the media, spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.

“The Holy See is waiting for [the] investigation’s conclusion,” he added.

The Paris City Hall official said the allegations against the archbishop involved a male employee from the mayor’s international relations team. He had been tasked with looking after Ventura during the ceremony.

City Hall filed a complaint against the envoy to Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz’s office on January 23rd, six days after the alleged molestation. – Reuters