French Catholic clergy sexually abused 216,000 children, report finds – POLITICO

216,000 victims under the age of 18 have been sexually abused by priests and other clerics in the French Catholic Church since 1950, an investigation has found.

The landmark report was released Tuesday morning after 2.5 years of investigation. The independent commission that compiled the report was set up by Catholic bishops in France at the end of 2018.

“You are a shame to our humanity. You have trampled on the obligation of protection of life and human dignity, even though it is the essence of your profession,” said François Devaux, head of the victim group La Parole Liberée (The Liberated Word) in response to the findings.

“You must pay for all these crimes,” he added, addressing church figures in the audience at the public presentation of the report in Paris.

Jean-Marc Sauvé, chairman of the independent commission that compiled the report, explained during the press conference that the majority of victims, around 80 percent, were boys.

“A large number of the victims were aged 10 to 13 years old. Even 11 to 12 years old. These were boys. It’s a clear characteristic of the Catholic church,” said Sauvé, adding that “these numbers are more than preoccupying, they are overwhelming, and in no case can they be left without proper action.”

The Catholic Church, in multiple European countries and the U.S., has been shaken by a flood of allegations that members of the clergy have carried out wide-ranging abuse against minors for years.

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