Accused nuncio to France resigns post

Archbishop Luigi Ventura then Apostolic Nuncio to Canada speaks at a Mass and Concert held in Ottawa April 2 2009 Credit Bruce MacRae via Flickr CC BY NC SA 20 Archbishop Luigi Ventura, then-Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, speaks at a Mass and Concert held in Ottawa, April 2, 2009. | Bruce MacRae via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pope Francis Tuesday accepted Archbishop Luigi Ventura's resignation as apostolic nuncio to France. Ventura was accused of sexual assault earlier this year.

The Vatican revoked Ventura's diplomatic immunity in July, paving the way for a possible trial.

Ventura turned 75 on Dec. 9, the mandatory age at which bishops submit their resignation to the pope. The pope then accepts the resignation at his discretion.

French news agency I.Media reported at the end of September that Ventura had returned to Rome and was living in a residence for elderly priests near St. Peter's Square.

He is accused of having inappropriately touched a young male staffer of Paris City Hall during a Jan. 17 reception for the New Year address of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. That accusation was under investigation by Parisian authorities but has not yet gone to trial.

After the initial allegation was made against in Ventura in March, he faced a second accusation of sexual misconduct against an adult male relating to his time in Canada in 2008.

Christian Vachon, who was 32 at the time of the alleged incident, claims Ventura touched his buttocks at least twice during a banquet held at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, near Quebec.

Ventura served as nuncio to France from 2009.

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brescia in 1969. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1978 and has served in Brazil, Bolivia, and the United Kingdom. From 1984 to 1995 he worked at the Secretariat of State's Section for Relations with States.

After his episcopal consecration in 1995, Ventura served as nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chile, and Canada, before his transfer to France.

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