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French Catholic Church branded ‘a disgrace to humanity’ as report finds more than 200,000 abused by clergy

THE French Catholic Church was branded “a disgrace to humanity” today after investigations found more than 200,000 children have been abused since 1950.

Jean-Marc Sauve, who headed the commission into sexual abuse, said the church had turned a blind eye and sometimes even put children in touch with their predators.

He said 2,700 victims had been found, but research and polling groups estimated that about 216,000 had been abused by clergy, a figure likely to rise to 330,000 when abuse by lay members of the church was included, Mr Sauve said.

“You are a disgrace to our humanity,” victim association La Parole Liberee founder Francois Devaux told church representatives at the public hearing of the commission’s conclusions.

“In this hell there have been abominable mass crimes ... but there has been, even worse, betrayal of trust, betrayal of morale, betrayal of children,” he said, accusing the church of cowardice.

The independent commission was established by Catholic bishops in France at the end of 2018 to shed light on abuses and restore public confidence.

At nearly 2,500 pages, the report found that the vast majority of victims were pre-adolescent boys from a wide variety of social backgrounds.

“The Catholic Church is, after the circle of family and friends, the environment that has the highest prevalence of sexual violence,” it concluded.

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