210,000 children sexually abused by French clergy

An investigation into sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church has estimated that more than 210,000 children were victimized by clergy since 1950.

An independent commission released its findings in a report on Tuesday. The commission was set up in 2018 following a series of revelations of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics around the world.

The report says there were at least 2,900 to 3,200 pedophiles in the French church who sexually abused minors between 1950 and 2020.

The report puts the number of the victims at 216,000. It says 80 percent of them were boys, many of whom were aged between 10 and 13.

The report also says the tally totals an estimated 330,000 when including the cases involving abuse by lay members.

The head of the commission, Jean-Marc Sauve, accused the church of systemic cover-ups, saying its handling of abuse was aimed at protecting the institution and its priests.

In 2019, the Vatican introduced a set of measures against those who abuse or cover up, including an obligation for clerics to report abuse. The latest revelation of serious cases of sexual abuse in the church over a 70-year period is sending shockwaves through the French society.