The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into alleged "sexual aggression" by Luigi Ventura, the Vatican's envoy to France, according to a French judicial official.
Confirming a report published by Le Monde newspaper on Friday, the official said the investigation targeting the Apostolic nuncio will be conducted by Paris police following an alleged incident inside the French capital's town hall, writes usnews.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing.
Paris City Hall did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comments.
Ventura, who was born in northern Italy near the city of Brescia, turned 74 in December. He was ordained a priest in June 1969 and elevated to bishops' rank in March 1995. He was appointed nuncio to France in Sept. 2009 by Benedict XVI, a position regarded as the crowning achievement of a Vatican diplomatic career.
After serving as nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger, he then held the position in Chile and Canada before landing the French post.
When he turns 75 in December 2019, he will be required, as all bishops are at that age under Vatican rules, to submit his resignation to pope Francis, who can either accept it or let him stay on a little longer.
Ventura is the third Vatican diplomat accused of sexual wrongdoing. In June last year, the Vatican tribunal convicted Monsignor Carlo Capella of possession and distribution of child pornography and sentenced him to five years in prison. In 2013, the Vatican charged its then-ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski, with sexually abusing young boys. Wesolowski was defrocked by the Vatican's church court, but he died before the Vatican's criminal trial got underway.