“The Holy See doesn’t give a hoot for your deliberations,” Thouvenel’s lawyer, Edmond Frety, told the three judges.
In France, sexual assault can be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 75,000 euros (about $88,600).
Ventura submitted his resignation as apostolic nuncio to France in December 2019 upon reaching the age of 75. Pope Francis accepted the resignation fewer than 10 days later. The Vatican had revoked Ventura’s diplomatic immunity in July 2019, paving the way for a trial in French courts.
Thouvenel also testified in court that he was kicked out of his seminary after filing a police report against Ventura.
Another alleged victim of Ventura, Mathieu De La Souchere, accused him of touching his buttocks repeatedly at a reception at Paris City Hall.
De La Souchere also accused Ventura of lying, after a judge said Nov. 10 that the former nuncio had explained his behavior by saying he had a “Latin” temperament and his gestures were not sexual.
“There is talk of a hand on a buttock,” he said. “It was more than that.”
De La Souchere was the first to make a public accusation against Ventura, filing a report in early 2019, claiming that he was inappropriately touched by Ventura at a Jan. 17, 2019, reception for the New Year address of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. The accusation was then investigated by Parisian authorities for several months.
Since the alleged victim came forward, four other men have reported touching incidents during public events in France between January 2018 and February 2019.
After the initial allegation was made against Ventura, he also faced another accusation of sexual misconduct against an adult male relating to his time in Canada in 2008. He has denied the allegations.
Ventura was apostolic nuncio to Canada from 2001 to 2009.
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Ventura was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brescia, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, in 1969. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1978 and was stationed in Brazil, Bolivia, and the U.K. From 1984 to 1995, he served at the Secretariat of State in the Section for Relations with States.
After his episcopal consecration in 1995, Ventura served as nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chile, and Canada. He was appointed apostolic nuncio to France in September 2009.