More than 216,000 minors fell victim to pedophilia at the hands of priests and religious leaders between 1950 and 2021 in the French Catholic Church. This number rises to 330,000 when we include the sacrifices of lay people working in church structures. Boys were victims of pedophiles in 80 percent of cases.
This information is taken from a report submitted by the CIASE Commission on Sexual Assault, created by the French bishopric. The bishops apologized to the victims and expressed “horror” at the scale of the crime.
Conclusions of the report
Jean-Marc Sauvet, president of the commission, presented the findings of the report, from which it follows that over the past 70 years in France, between 2,900 and 3,200 priests and religious leaders have committed sexual crimes against minors. Jean-Marc Sauvet stressed that these figures are likely to be underestimated.
The total number of priests and clergy who acted during these years is 115,000. The report also shows that the church is the second social institution, after the family, where pedophilic acts most often take place.
The authors of the report emphasized that the Catholic Church in France began to fight against pedophilia only in the 2000s, and before that there was a systemic protection for sex offenders. The report also contains a number of recommendations for combating pedophilia in the Church.
The data presented by the commission was obtained from the analysis of archival documents, court reports, press articles, testimonies of victims and in collaboration with social researchers. The work on the report took almost three years.
Words by Bishop Eric de Moulin-Beaufort
– I want to express my shame, horror and determination to act together with the victims so that these deeds are not hidden by hierarchs, priests, church activists and believers. To all the victims, I want to say: sorry, “reacted the President of the French episcopate, Bishop Eric de Moulin-Beaufort.
The bishops have pledged to provide financial assistance to victims of sex crimes through a special fund and to create a canonical criminal court to try sexual crimes in the Church.