Sexual assault trial

Sexual assault trial

In the sexual assault trial, the prosecutor in Paris has demanded a ten-month suspended prison sentence for the former papal ambassador to France, Archbishop Luigi Ventura. Several witnesses incriminated the accused.

According to French media (Wednesday), Ventura had not appeared in person for the seven-hour hearing before the Paris criminal court on Tuesday. The verdict, he said, should be handed down on 16. December to be announced.

Accusation: sexual assault

The 75-year-old ex-diplomat is accused, among other things, of sexually assaulting an adult man at a reception in Paris in January 2019. In July 2019, the Vatican lifted Ventura's diplomatic immunity because of the criminal investigation; in December, he retired after reaching retirement age.

According to the newspaper La Croix, Ventura had been expected to appear in court until the very end. In the short term, however, his attending physician had forbidden the trip to Paris for health reasons and the risks associated with Covid-19. The civil plaintiffs regretted the absence of the accused, which prevented a confrontation with his alleged victims. "It makes no sense to waive immunity to put him on trial if he then fails to appear in court," they are quoted as saying.

Witnesses incriminate ex-nuntius

According to the indictment, Ventura, who was doyen of the diplomatic corps as papal nuncio, allegedly harassed a young executive of Paris City Hall who was assigned to look after him, questioning her about his private life and touching her indecently on several occasions. As a witness, the young man testified Tuesday, according to the report, in public he did not know what to do at first. "As soon as I could escape, I did it." His superiors at City Hall would have supported him in his decision to sue. Against the church he had personally nothing.

Another witness, a former candidate for the priesthood, testified that Ventura had sexually harassed him a month earlier, in December 2018, at the Issy-les-Moulineaux seminary near Paris. When he finally decided to take legal action against the nuncio, he was advised to finish his education. According to the newspaper, he demanded "justice" and recognition as a victim.

Prosecutor Alexis Bouroz evaluated the essential facts in the case as evident. The accusations of the victims are credible and detailed.

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