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News > France

French Catholic Priests Sexually Abused at Least 3,000 People

  • A priest sets chairs inside the Lyon Cathedral, France.

    A priest sets chairs inside the Lyon Cathedral, France. | Photo: Twitter/ @nrc

Published 17 June 2020

Preliminary investigation showed that 30 percent of the sex victims are over 70 years old today.

France’s Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE) estimates that there have been at least 3,000 victims since 1950.


Pope Ends 'Pontifical Secrecy' Over Sex Abuse Investigations

Over the past months, 5,300 complaints were received by this special task force, which was created at the request of the episcopate in 2018 and includes jurists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and other specialists.

"Many victims have not heard from us or have not wanted to respond to our request because there is still a lot of suffering or because they believe that it will not do any good," the CIASE president Jean-Marc Sauve said, adding that testimonies' reception will last until Oct. 31.

He also specified that 30 percent of the French sex victims are over 70 years old today and 50 percent are between 50 and 70 years old.

"Since the end of the 20th century, the Catholic Church has faced the revelation of numerous cases of minors sexual abuse committed by priests, religious, or missionary on the ecclesial mission, on different continents."

"Ruined, destroyed, lives. An impossibility of living and a considerable difficulty to overcome it," Sauve said while explaining why many people have taken so long to speak.

These figures are provisional since the task force continues to investigate Episcopal archives and receive testimonies. The final data will be presented in an official report in 2021, which aims to expose child sexual abuse.

"We must count abuses, victims, and perpetrators... We must account for the consequences of abuses. We need to be able to remember what happened. And beyond the stories, this must allow us to understand how the Church addressed or did not address these issues," the CIASE president concluded, as reported by local outlet RTL.

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