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PARIS, Oct 5 (Reuters) – French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years, a major investigation released on Tuesday found, and its authors said the Catholic Church had turned a blind eye to the ‘scourge’ for too long.
The church had shown “deep, total and even cruel indifference for years,” protecting itself rather than the victims of what was systemic abuse, said Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission that compiled the report.
Most of the victims were boys, he said, many of them aged between 10 and 13.
“Faced with this scourge, for a very long time the Catholic Church’s immediate reaction was to protect itself as an institution and it has shown complete, even cruel, indifference to those having suffered abuse,” the report said.