Report: 330,000 children within France’s Catholic Church sexually abused over past 70 years



Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church expresses personal “shame” in response to the CIASE report.

Gabie McConnell, Staff Writer

For decades the Catholic Church has dealt with countless accusations of sexual abuse among priests worldwide. On Tuesday, Oct. 5 many survivors of abuse within not only the French Catholic Church but every Catholic Church worldwide felt some relief as it seemed the church was finally being held accountable for its actions. 

While some allegations date back to the 1950s, molestation by priests did not receive widespread public attention until 1980 in the U.S. and Canada. After the 1980s, stories began to emerge in Argentina, Australia, Austria and elsewhere around the world. News of widespread sexual abuse in Ireland made its way around the world, and by the early 2000s, sexual abuse within the Catholic Church was a global scandal. To put into perspective the scale of these sexual abuse claims, according to, the Church has paid $3 billion in sexual abuse settlements over the course of several decades. 

According to the Preface of the report, “The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (CIASE) was set up at the initiative of the Catholic Church in France with four guiding objectives: 1/ shed light on the sexual violence committed in its institution since 1950; 2/  To examine the extent to which these cases were, or were not, dealt with; 3/  To assess the measures taken by the Church to treat this scourge; and 4/  To make all useful recommendations.” 

The report by the CIASE found a total of 330,000 victims, 216,000 of which were abused by priests or other clerics and the remaining by figures in the Church such as camp counselors. The number of clergy and monks who perpetrated sexual assault is estimated to be between 2,900 and 3,200. While this case may be a turning point in the Church’s shameful history, there still is work to be done. 

“Before proclaiming ‘it must never happen again’, the ‘it’ has to be recognized, acknowledged and described, those responsible for ‘it’ need to be designated and, in as far as is possible, reparation for ‘its’ consequences need to be found,” said, The CIASE.