The French Catholic Church had estimated 3,000 pedophiles since the 1950s (Update)
The French Catholic Church has counted around 3,000 pedophiles in its ranks over the past 70 years, the head of an independent commission to investigate the sexual abuse scandal said in an interview published on Sunday.
The commission is due to release its findings on Tuesday, which will mark the culmination of two and a half years of work, examining allegations of abuse dating back to the 1950s.
“We have estimated the number (of pedophiles) at 3,000, out of 115,000 priests and religious, dating back to the 1950s,” commission chairman Jean-Marc Sauve told Le Journal du Dimanche.
A spokesperson representing the Conference of Catholic Bishops of France declined to comment on Sauve’s comments.
A Vatican spokesperson said he would wait for the full report to be released before deciding whether or not to comment.
The scandal in the French Church is the latest to hit the Roman Catholic Church, which has been rocked by sex abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years.
The French Church’s official Twitter account (@Eglisecatho) posted a prayer of support for the victims on Sunday.
The French Church, which has seen the number of worshipers decline in recent years, said in March it would offer financial compensation to those who have been abused.
Last month, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cologne decided to take a “spiritual downtime” from his duties after making serious mistakes in a crisis of clerical sexual abuse.
A report released last year in Britain said the Catholic Church received more than 900 complaints about more than 3,000 cases of child sexual abuse in England and Wales between 1970 and 2015, and that there had been more than 100 reported allegations per year since 2016.