Obama ex-Vatican envoy hit by sex harassment complaint

Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Diaz, in the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO) Pope Benedict XVI and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Diaz, in the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, HO)

University of Dayton theology professor Miguel Diaz, ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 to November 2012, is leaving the Roman Catholic institution after an investigation last year concluded it was likely that he sexually harassed a married couple who were his colleagues, according to a report Monday by the online news publication InsideHigherEd.com.

The article by reporter Ry Rivard, titled “Unwanted Advances,” said Diaz and his wife, also an academic, were expected to leave Dayton for Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit institution. Internal university documents obtained by InsideHigherEd.com said the unidentified couple complained in June 2013 that Diaz was “harassing [them] through various requests and references to sexually explicit feelings.”

A letter from the University of Dayton provost  Joseph Saliba to the unidentified couple in July 2013 said the investigation by an outside counsel “concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe, based upon a preponderance of the evidence. . . that Dr. Diaz created a hostile environment by engaging in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, particularly after being told to stop.”

By way of remedies, the provost said the university would fire Diaz unless he “avoided contact” with the couple, “whether in person, by phone or electronic (including texting) communications” and he was not to get involved “either directly or indirectly, in either of your employment, performance, service or other involvement” at the school “or elsewhere, whether negative or positive.”

If they get another verified complaint against Diaz like this one, Saliba wrote, “he will be terminated.”

Diaz, through his attorney, Gabriel Fuentes, declined comment Tuesday.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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