Poll: the Catholic Church in France had 3,000 child molesters
An independent commission examining sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in France estimates that 3,000 child molesters – two-thirds of whom are priests – have worked in the church over the past 70 years.
The estimate was given by the chairman of the commission, Jean-Marc SauvÃ©, in an interview published on Sunday in the Journal du Dimanche. The commission has been investigating for two and a half years. Its full findings are expected to be released on Tuesday.
In the interview, SauvÃ© did not give a figure on the number of victims of sexual abuse, but said the report included a new estimate.
Asked about the work of the commission investigating child molesters, he said: “We have estimated their number at 3,000, out of 11,500 priests and religious since the 1950s. Two-thirds are diocesan priests.”
He said 22 cases have been passed to prosecutors for alleged crimes that can still be prosecuted. More than 40 cases of alleged crimes that are too old to prosecute but involve surviving suspects have been passed to church officials, SauvÃ© said.
“From 1950 to 1970, the church was completely indifferent to the victims: they did not exist, the suffering inflicted on children was ignored,” he said, quoting the newspaper. âThe periods that followed were different.
He added: âOur goal is to provide a concrete diagnosis of all abuses, identify the causes and draw all the consequences.