June 17, 2020
By Karine Perret
At least 3,000 children have fallen victim to sex abuse in the French Catholic Church since 1950, a commission set up to examine claims estimated Wednesday, adding that the real number may be much higher.
The commission’s president Jean-Marc Sauve said preliminary figures suggested some 1,500 clergy and other Church officials carried out the abuse.
The commission was set up last June at the request of French bishops after a series of paedophilia cases that rocked the Church in France and abroad.
A hotline urging victims to come forward has received 5,300 calls over the past year, Sauve told journalists in a video conference.
The number of estimated victims represents more than 40 cases per year on average over the past seven decades.
“I am deeply convinced that there are many more victims,” Sauve said.
“What we do not know is how to consolidate these two sources” of potential cases — the hotline and the commission’s own inquiries, he said.
The call for witnesses has been extended to October 31 and reviews of Church archives have resumed after being suspended during France’s coronavirus lockdown.
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