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FRENCH CATHOLIC CLERGY ABUSED OVER 200,000 CHILDREN, SAYS REPORT

 

  French clergy sexually abused ‘over 200,000 children’ since 1950

Commission investigating historic wrongdoing alleges thousands of Catholic priests involved in ‘systemic’ abuse.

The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years

About 216,000 children are estimated to have been sexually abused by thousands of French Catholic priests, deacons and other clergy since 1950, an independent inquiry has found, alleging the phenomenon was covered up by a “veil of silence”.

The details made public on Tuesday are the latest to rock the Roman Catholic Church after a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years.

Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission that compiled the report on the investigation, said the abuse in France was “systemic” and had been carried out by some 3,000 priests and other people involved in the church.

About 80 percent of the victims were boys.

Speaking at a public, online presentation of the report, Suave added that the Church had shown “deep, total and even cruel indifference for years”, protecting itself rather than the victims.

The Church not only failed to take necessary preventive measures, he said, but also turned a blind eye to abuse and sometimes knowingly put children in touch with predators.

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

Victims voiced their disgust over the findings.

“You are a disgrace to our humanity,” Francois Devaux, who set up victims’ association La Parole Liberee, meaning The Liberated Word, told church representatives at the presentation. “In this hell, there have been abominable mass crimes … but there has been even worse, betrayal of trust, betrayal of morale, betrayal of children.”

Pope Francis thanked victims for coming forward.

“First of all his thoughts go to the victims, with great sorrow, for their wounds,” a Vatican statement said. “(His thoughts go to) the Church of France, so that, in the awareness of this terrible reality … it may embark on a path of redemption.”



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