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News > France

French Church Could Admit up To 10,000 Child Sex Abuse Cases

  • Images of members of the French Catholic Church.

    Images of members of the French Catholic Church. | Photo: Twitter/ @Esperance_87

Published 2 March 2021

"Victims experience great difficulty in freeing themselves from the belief they are guilty," explained the chairman of the commission investigating the facts.

The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the French Church (CIASE) on Tuesday acknowledged that the number of minors sexually abused by priests or church workers could be as high as 10,000 if all possible cases since the 1950s are considered.


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Although only about 3,000 cases have been confirmed so far, the commission said the final number of victims will be known when it completes its investigation in September.

To confirm those 3,000 cases, investigators received and analyzed some 6,500 testimonies. To determine the number of cases, the investigation also used a 50-question survey asking people if they were sexually abused as minors.

"Sexual violence often engenders a deep trauma resulting in a prolonged silence that can last for decades. Victims experience great difficulty in freeing themselves from the belief they are guilty," the CIASE President Jean-Marc Sauve explained.

Formed at the request of the episcopate in Nov. 2018, the commission is composed of about twenty jurists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and other specialists. Its investigation seeks both to bring to light sexual abuses perpetrated against minors and to understand how these matters have been handled in order to prevent similar occurrences from happening again.

Outside the ecclesiastical sphere, sexual abuse of minors in France has gained new prominence from recent cases such as the accusations against National Cinematographic Center (CNC) President Dominique Boutonnat, who was arrested after his godson accused him of sexual assault and attempted rape.

Events such as these join a long list of denunciations on social networks under the hashtag #MeTooInceste, which went viral earlier this year with cases of other victims who suffered abuse in the family setting.

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