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216,000 victims under the age of 18 have been sexually abused by priests and other clerics of the French Catholic Church since 1950, an investigation found.

The landmark report was released Tuesday morning after 2.5 years of investigation. The independent commission that drafted the report was set up by the Catholic bishops of France at the end of 2018.

“You are a disgrace to our humanity. You have flouted the obligation to protect life and human dignity, even if that is the essence of your job, ”declared François Devaux, head of the group of victims La Parole Libérée.

“You have to pay for all these crimes,” he added, addressing church figures in the audience during the report’s public presentation in Paris.

Jean-Marc Sauvé, chairman of the independent commission that wrote the report, told the press conference that the majority of the victims, around 80 percent, were boys.

“Many of the victims were between 10 and 13 years old. Even 11 to 12 years old. They were boys. This is a clear characteristic of the Catholic Church, ”Sauvé said, adding that“ these numbers are more than worrying, they are overwhelming, and in no way can they be left without proper action.

The Catholic Church, in several European countries and in the United States, has been rocked by a flood of allegations that members of the clergy have committed large-scale abuses against minors for years.

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