Around 330,000 Children Estimated to Be Victims of Sex Abuse by the Catholic Church in France

A report released in France on Tuesday (5/10), says there are an estimated 330,000 children who are thought to have been victims of sexual abuse in Catholic churches in France over the past 70 years.

The head of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauve, said the estimates were based on scientific research, and the abuses in question included abuses by priests, church administrators and those involved in church activities.

Jean-Marc Sauve in the publication of a report by the independent commission on sexual abuse by church officials (CIASE) in Paris, Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

Jean-Marc Sauve in the publication of a report by the independent commission on sexual abuse by church officials (CIASE) in Paris, Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

The report said some 3,000 child sex offenders, two-thirds of whom were priests, worked in Catholic churches during that period.

This commission has worked for 2.5 years, listening to the testimonies of victims and witnesses and studying church archives, courts, police and press since the 1950s.

A hotline opened early in the investigation received 6,500 phone calls from a number of suspected victims and people who said they knew a victim.

Francois Devaux, founder of the victims' association "The free words", attends the publication of a report by an independent commission on sexual abuse by church officials (Ciase) in Paris, Tuesday, October 5, 2021. (AP)

Francois Devaux, founder of the victims’ association “La parole liberee”, attends the publication of a report by an independent commission on sexual abuse by church officials (Ciase) in Paris, Tuesday, October 5, 2021. (AP)

Sauve said 22 alleged crimes that could still be processed by the courts had been forwarded to prosecutors. More than 40 cases too old to be tried but involving alleged perpetrators are still alive have been reported to church officials.

The Commission issued 45 recommendations on how to prevent such harassment from occurring. This includes training priests and other church administrators, revising Canon Law (the law the Vatican uses to govern the church) and pushing for policies to recognize and compensate victims, Sauve said. [ab/uh]

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