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The head of a panel investigating abuses by the clergy in France, Jean-Marc Sauvé has revealed that some 216,000 children have been recorded abused by Catholic priests in 71 years.

Reports say Jean-Marc Sauvé made the revelation at the release of a report into sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church covering 1950 till date.

According to him, the number could rise to 330,000 should abuses by lay-men and women be added to the statistics.

A commission instituted by the church in 2018 found evidence of a minimum of 2,900 to 3,200 abusers – out of a total of 115,000 priests and other clerics.

Its report, which is nearly 2,500 pages long, says the “vast majority” of victims were pre-adolescent boys from a wide variety of social backgrounds.

“The Catholic Church is, after the circle of family and friends, the environment that has the highest prevalence of sexual violence,” the report said.

Evidence were through court proceedings, police and church records and speaking to victims and witnesses.

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