French clergy sexually abused over 200,000 minors since 1950, report shows
French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years, a major investigation released on Tuesday found.
The report’s authors said the height of the abuse was from 1950 to1970, with an apparent resurgence in cases in the early 1990s.
The commission that compiled the report said in its report that the Catholic Church had turned a blind eye to the 'scourge' for too long.
The church had shown "deep, total and even cruel indifference for years," protecting itself rather than the victims of what was systemic abuse, said Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission, which was established by Catholic bishops in France at the end of 2018 to shed light on abuses.
The report said an estimated 3,000 priests and an unknown number of other people associated with the Catholic Church sexually abused children. Most of the victims were boys, he said, many of them aged between 10 and 13.
The revelations, which showed the problem in France was more widespread than previously thought, were the latest to rock the Roman Catholic Church, after a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children.
Pope expresses ‘shame’ at scale of clergy abuse in France
Pope Francis expressed “shame” for himself and the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday for the scale of child sexual abuse.
In June, the pope said the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis was a worldwide "catastrophe".
But critics accuse Francis of responding too slowly to the sex abuse scandals, of failing to empathise with victims and of blindly believing the word of his fellow clergy.