Between 2,900 and 3,200 French priests abused about 10,000 children in the last half century


Correspondent in Paris

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According to Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE), between 2,900 and 3,200 French priests about 10,000 children were abused between 1950 and 2020.

This first conclusion is the fruit of more than two years of work by a Commission created by decision of the Episcopal Conference meeting in Lourdes on November 7, 2018, when the ecclesiastical hierarchy decided to research, study and publicize the history and evolution of ecclesiastical pedophilia.

CIASE and the Episcopal Conference will publish the conclusions of the investigation led by Jean-Marc Sauvé and a score of renowned personalities on Tuesday.

According to several CIASE sources who prefer to remain anonymous, the more than 2,500-page report will have the effect of a “bomb.”

In a personal capacity, without prejudging the official presentation of the report commissioned by the Episcopal Conference, two years ago, Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of CIASE, honorary vice president of the Council of State, has made some basic revelations: «Between 1950 and 2020, in France there were between 2,900 and 3,200 pedocriminal priests. This is a minimal estimate, the result of a detailed study of the archives of the Church, the justice system, the judicial police and the press. The ecclesiastical hierarchy has facilitated our investigation.

During the last half century, in France there were about 115,000 priests and religious. Between 2,900 and 3,200 abused more than 10,000 victims “at least”.

Support from the ecclesiastical hierarchy

Counting on him tacit support of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the commission chaired by Jean-Marc Sauvé launched a simple and direct method of work: calls for “confession” and “disclosure” of pedophilia cases. The Commission received more than 6,500 calls and proceeded to the hearing of more than 250 victims.

CIASE will complete its investigation with a study that attempts to discover the mechanisms of pedophilia within the French church, comparing them with the phenomenon of pedophilia in school, family and sports associations.

The Commission’s report ends with 45 concrete propositions to try to combat pedophilia, starting with listening to the victims, prevention, training of priests and religious, canon law and the “transformation” of the management of this tragedy within the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

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