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France Vatican lifts accused archbishop’s immunity

PARIS — France’s foreign ministry says the Vatican has decided to lift the diplomatic immunity of its ambassador in France, who is accused of sexual assault.

About a half-dozen men have accused Archbishop Luigi Ventura of groping them. One of the accusers, Mathieu 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.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into alleged sexual aggression. The Vatican said Ventura was cooperating with the investigation, but De La Souchere said the French case had been essentially stalled over the immunity question.

Officials confirmed Monday they have “received confirmation from the Holy See of a waiver of immunity” so Ventura could be properly investigated.

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