Nuns used crucifixes to rape girls during decades of abuse by French clergy, with 330,000 victims covered up

NUNS used crucifixes to rape girls during decades of abuse by French clergy members – with 330,000 thousand victims covered up.

Victims of abuse within France's Catholic Church welcomed a new report which estimated that hundreds of thousands of kids were sexually abused over the past 70 years.

The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and an unknown number of other people involved in the church.

The report found that nuns used crucifixes to rape girls or force boys to have sex with them.

The wrongdoing was covered up by Catholic authorities covered up over decades, according to the president of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauvé.

Victims welcomed the report as long overdue and the head of the French bishops' conference asked for their forgiveness.

The report said the tally of 330,000 victims includes an estimated 216,000 people abused by priests and other clerics, and the rest by church figures such as scout leaders or camp counselors.

The estimates are based on a broader research by France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research into sexual abuse of children in the country.

The study's authors estimate 80 per cent of the church's victims were boys.

The independent commission urged the church to take strong action. It also called on the Catholic Church to help compensate the victims, notably in cases that are too old to prosecute via French courts.

"We consider the church has a debt towards victims," Sauvé said.

Pope Francis expressed his "great sorrow" to the victims "for their wounds" today.

Two of those victims, Martine, 73, and Mireille, 71, were sexually assaulted by a priest when they were teenage girls in high school.

"It brings on such terrible thoughts," Martine said. "For me, personally, I had to wait for my parents to die because otherwise she said it was not possible to speak out."

"I think that each victim experienced it as if they were the only one (victim), and thats part of this phenomenon involving control and secrecy," Mireille said.

"We are in a condition of submission… in a mental captivity. So, we follow this person who suddenly takes power over us… We are caught in a spider web."

Olivier Savignac, the head of victims association Parler et Revivre (Speak Out and Live Again), contributed to the investigation.

He described being abused at age 13 by the director of a Catholic vacation camp in the south of France who was accused of assaulting several other boys.

"I perceived this priest as someone who was good, a caring person who would not harm me," Savignac said.

"But it was when I found myself on that bed half-naked and he was touching me that I realized something was wrong… Its like gangrene inside the victim's body and the victim's psyche.

The priest eventually was found guilty of child sexual abuse and sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison.

The commission worked for two-and-a-half years, listening to victims and witnesses and studying church, court, police and news archives starting from the 1950s.

Sauvé said: "Sometimes church officials did not denounce (the sex abuses) and even exposed children to risks by putting them in contact with predators."

The president of the Conference of Bishops of France, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, said French bishops are appalled at the conclusions of the report.

"I wish on that day to ask for pardon, pardon to each of you," he told the victims.

"No one expected such a high number (of victims) to come out of the survey and that is properly frightening and out of proportion with the perception that we've had on the ground."

    Source: Read Full Article