PARIS – A serious French report launched Tuesday discovered that an estimated 330,000 kids have been victims of intercourse abuse inside France’s Catholic Church over the previous 70 years, in France’s first main reckoning with the devastating phenomenon.

The president of the fee that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauve, mentioned the estimate, based mostly on scientific analysis, contains abuses dedicated by clergymen and others clerics in addition to by non-religious individuals concerned within the church. He mentioned about 80% are male victims.

“The consequences are very serious,” Sauve mentioned. “About 60% of men and women who were sexually abused encounter major problems in their sentimental or sexual life.”


The 2,500-page doc ready by an unbiased fee comes because the Catholic Church in France, like in different international locations, seeks to resist shameful secrets and techniques that have been lengthy coated up.

The report says an estimated 3,000 little one abusers — two-thirds of them clergymen — labored within the church throughout that interval. Sauve mentioned the general determine of victims contains an estimated 216,000 individuals abused by clergymen and different clerics.

A believer reacts while praying during a mass in the Cathedral of Lucon, western France, on March 14, 2021, organised after the unveiling ceremony of a plaque in tribute to children victims of sexual abuse by priests. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

A believer reacts whereas praying throughout a mass within the Cathedral of Lucon, western France, on March 14, 2021, organised after the disclosing ceremony of a plaque in tribute to kids victims of sexual abuse by clergymen. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP by way of Getty Images)

Olivier Savignac, head of victims affiliation “Parler et Revivre” (Speak out and Live once more), who contributed to the probe, informed The Associated Press that the excessive ratio of victims per abuser is especially “terrifying for French society, for the Catholic Church.”

The fee labored for two 1/2 years, listening to victims and witnesses and learning church, courtroom, police and press archives ranging from the Nineteen Fifties. A hotline launched originally of the probe obtained 6,500 calls from alleged victims or individuals who mentioned they knew a sufferer.

Sauve denounced the church’s angle till the start of the 2000s as “a deep, cruel indifference toward victims.” They have been “not believed or not heard” and typically suspected of being “in part responsible” for what occurred, he deplored.

Sauve mentioned 22 alleged crimes that may nonetheless be pursued have been forwarded to prosecutors. More than 40 circumstances which might be too previous to be prosecuted however contain alleged perpetrators who’re nonetheless alive have been forwarded to church officers.

The fee issued 45 suggestions about the way to stop abuse. These included coaching clergymen and different clerics, revising Canon Law — the authorized code the Vatican makes use of to control the church — and fostering insurance policies to acknowledge and compensate victims, Sauve mentioned.


The report comes after a scandal surrounding now-defrocked priest Bernard Preynat rocked the French Catholic Church. Last 12 months, Preynat was convicted of sexually abusing minors and given a five-year jail sentence. He acknowledged abusing greater than 75 boys for many years.

One of Preynat’s victims, Francois Devaux, head of the victims group La Parole Liberee (“The Liberated Word”), informed The Associated Press that “with this report, the French church for the first time is going to the root of this systemic problem. The deviant institution must reform itself.”

He mentioned the variety of victims the report identifies is “a minimum.”

“Some victims did not dare to speak out or trust the commission,” he mentioned, expressing considerations that the church in France nonetheless “hasn’t understood” and has sought to reduce its obligations.

The church should not solely acknowledge occasions but additionally compensate victims, Devaux mentioned. “It is indispensable that the church redresses the harm caused by all these crimes, and (financial) compensation is the first step.”

The Preynat case led to the resignation final 12 months of the previous archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who has been accused of failing to report the abuses to civil authorities when he discovered about them within the 2010s. France’s highest courtroom dominated earlier this 12 months that Barbarin didn’t cowl up the case.

French archbishops, in a message to parishioners learn throughout Sunday Mass throughout the nation, mentioned the publication of the report is “a test of truth and a tough and serious moment.”

“We will receive and study these conclusions to adapt our actions,” the message mentioned. “The fight against pedophilia concerns all of us … Our support and our prayers will keep going toward all the people who have been abused within the church.”

Pope Francis issued in May 2019 a groundbreaking new church regulation  requiring all Catholic clergymen and nuns around the globe to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities.

In June, Francis swiftly rejected a proposal from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, considered one of Germany’s most outstanding clerics and an in depth papal adviser, to resign as archbishop of Munich and Freising over the church’s mishandling of abuse circumstances. But he mentioned a means of reform was needed and each bishop should take accountability for the “catastrophe” of the disaster.