The head of an independent commission said on Tuesday that there could be at least 10,000 victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France since 1950.
Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE), said that the body’s previous suggestion in June 2020 of 3,000 victims was an underestimate.
“It’s possible that the figure is at least 10,000,” he said at a press conference on March 2.
CIASE, set up by the Catholic Church in France in 2018, said its investigation has so far received 6,500 testimonies concerning at least 3,000 individual victims.
Its final report is due to be released in early fall 2021.
The French bishops’ conference is funding the commission’s investigation, but members are not paid and their work is not directed by the bishops.
In the press conference, Sauvé said that the investigation is intended to answer several questions, including: “What is the order of magnitude? The number of victims and perpetrators? What percentage of priests are perpetrators of attacks? What do the abuses committed in the Church represent for society?”
The commission received testimonies from June 2019 through October 2020, during which time it identified approximately 3,000 victims, but Sauvé said this “certainly does not take account of the totality.”
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