Up to 3,200 Catholic priests have sexually abused children in France since 1950, the head of an independent inquiry has said, days before publishing a report on the scope of crimes against minors inside the church.
The independent commission led by former vice president of the Council of State Jean-Marc Sauve was set up to study sexual crimes against minors. The commission — made up of 21 people — was set up in 2018 by the French Catholic Church hierarchy and religious institutes after abuse scandals came to light. After going through church archives across the country and conducting interviews, the commission, known by its acronym CIASE, will deliver a 2,500-page report on Tuesday.
Sauve told AFP his team had uncovered between 2,900 and 3,200 pedophile priests and other church members who operated since 1950. He added that it was ‘a minimum estimate’. “The most terrible thing for me was to see the most absolute of evils – an attack on the physical and mental integrity of children – which is to say a work of death perpetrated by people whose mission was to bring life and salvation.”
“The church was completely indifferent to the victims. They didn’t exist, the suffering of children was ignored,” Sauve told Le Journal du Dimanche on Saturday, adding that clerics were greatly interested in protecting the church and retaining offenders in the priesthood.
Europe 1 radio cited sources saying that the estimated number of potential victims mentioned in the report will be well over 100,000. This is 10 times higher than the previous estimate put forward by the commission in March [News Wars].
“I went through a season of hell,” Christian Debreuil, a victim who was abused when he was 11 years old, testified before the commission. “I hope you can take them out of this sort of isolation syndrome, of blindness,” Debreuil said of the French Catholic Church. “They are still in denial, contempt, and minimize issues.”
Olivier Savignac, who runs a victims group called Parler and Revivre, said the release of the report would be like “a cyclone, a tsunami, a hurricane” [News Citadel].
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: RFI.FR
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