French Investigation: Sex Abuse of Minors in Catholic Church Tops 3,000 Victims Over 70 Years

Catholic News Agency via National Catholic Register

June 18, 2020

In November 2019 the Catholic bishops of France approved plans to offer financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Paris – Over the last seven decades at least 3,000 children were sexually abused by Catholic clergy or officials in France, according to the latest statements from an investigating commission, with many more feared to have been abused.

About 1,500 clergy and Church officials are believed to have perpetrated the abuse, according to the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, making an average number of victims 40 per year, Newsweek reports.

“We must remember this suffering, we must account for it. We are confronted with the shock of the suffering of the victims,” commission head Jean-Marc Sauvé said. “We can only be touched and transformed by meeting these victims.”

The commission was established in June 2019 to examine abuse claims dating back to the 1950s. A hotline resulted in 5,000 phone calls. The commission does not yet know how to consolidate cases from its own inquiries and from the hotline, Sauvé said.

About 30% of the victims are over 70 years old, and about 50% are between 50 and 70 years old.

“I am profoundly convinced that there are many more victims,” said Sauvé, who is a longtime civil servant, former vice-president of the French State Council, and president of the French Institute of Administrative Sciences.

The commission has asked for victims to come forward through the end of October. Reviews of Church archives have now resumed after being suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic, but its final report is delayed, Agence France Presse reports. It is expected to be released in September or October 2021.

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