French Catholic Church Investigation Finds 216,000 Paedophilia Cases Over 70 Years
07:51 GMT 05.10.2021 (Updated: 08:57 GMT 05.10.2021)
Around 3,000 paedophiles have operated inside the French Catholic Church since 1950, according to media reports citing a French independent commission on sexual abuse in the church.
The head of an independent enquiry investigating church child abuse, Jean-Marc Sauve, said that around 216,000 children have been abused by members of the Catholic clergy in France since 1950.
“That is devastating, because the ratio between 216,000 and 3,000, it’s one aggressor for 70 victims. That is terrifying for the French society, for the Catholic Church,” he said.
Jean-Marc Sauve said that there has been systemic negligence and silence from those at the top of the Catholic hierarchy over the abuse.
"The consequences are very serious,'' Sauve said. "About 60% of men and women who were sexually abused encounter major problems in their sentimental or sexual life.''
He added at an online presentation of the report that the problem still existed.
The French prosecutor received evidence of 22 cases of violence, on which it is still possible to initiate criminal proceedings - the priests involved in these crimes are still alive.
The commission began work in 2018 in the wake of scandals in churches in other countries. It included doctors, sociologists, historians and theologians. They examined church, court and police archives, and interviewed more than 6,500 victims and witnesses of crimes. The prepared report was 2,500 pages long. Earlier, Pope Francis changed church legislation and made the clergy more liable for sexual harassment.