Vatican lifts French archbishop’s immunity in groping probe

ventura-vatican.jpg

Archbishop Luigi Ventura with President of France Emmanuel Macron

PARIS (AP) — The Vatican said Monday it has decided to lift the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador to France, who is accused of groping and inappropriate touching by multiple men.

The announcement followed the French Foreign Ministry saying earlier in the day that it “received confirmation from the Holy See of a waiver of immunity” so Archbishop Luigi Ventura could be properly investigated.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into alleged sexual aggression by Ventura. The Vatican has said its envoy was cooperating, but one of the accusers, Mathieu de La Souchere, asserted last week that the probe was essentially stalled over the immunity question.

De La Souchere filed a police report in Paris earlier this year accusing Ventura of touching his buttocks repeatedly during a Jan. 17 reception at Paris City Hall.

Speaking to The Associated Press on Monday, de La Souchere said he was “astonished” by the Vatican’s decision.

“I had been told that the fight was lost in advance and (am) happy because we will be entitled to a trial,” he said. “Now, a new fight opens: the judicial fight.”

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