Originally from Venezuela, Peña Parra served in the Vatican's diplomatic service for 25 years in Kenya, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, Mozambique, and the UN before he was elevated to the curial position of "substitute," or deputy head of the Vatican Secretariat of State Oct. 15.
Before that appointment, Vigano charged, Pope Francis ignored "a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo," accusing the archbishop of malfeasance.
Vigano added that in 2000 Venezuelan journalist Gastón Guisandes López accused Peña Parra of abusing abusing two minor seminarians in Maracaibo on September 24, 1990, three years before he entered the Vatican's diplomatic service.
"The case was reported to the police by the parents of the two young men and was dealt with by the then-rector of the major seminary, Rev. Enrique Pérez, and by the then spiritual director, Rev. Emilio Melchor. Rev. Pérez, when questioned by the Secretariat of State, confirmed in writing the episode of September 24, 1990. I have seen these documents with my own eyes," Viganò said.
Vigano accused Peña Parra of being "allegedly involved … in the death of two people," who died in August 1992 because of an electric discharge. "It is not clear whether or not the deaths were accidental," Viganò added.
"These two accusations were reported to the Secretariat of State in 2002 by the then apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, Archbishop André Dupuy," he wrote.
Vigano charged that Parra's elevation to a senior Vatican role is a reflection upon Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Pope Francis.
"Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator."
"If Cardinal Parolin's responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation," Vigano added.
The Italian newsweekly L'Espresso reported Oct. 12 that Peña Parra had been dismissed from a seminary where he studied because he was thought by seminary administrators to have a homosexual orientation.
On Oct. 18, L'Espresso added to its report, noting that Peña Parra had a longtime close relationship with Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, the coordinator of the pope's C9 Council of Cardinals. Viganò had also noted their friendship.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The magazine also claimed that Peña Parra had developed a friendship with Bishop Juan Jose Pineda, former auxiliary bishop of Maradiaga's Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, who was removed from office following allegations of sexual misconduct involving seminarians and other adult men.
In the same October report, L'Espresso reported that the Vatican has declined to respond to its questions about Peña Parra.
Vigano said that Pope Francis has done "close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse," though he did not make mention of the May promulgation of Vos estis lux mundi, the pope's new procedural norms regarding abuse or cover-up.