PARIS (AP) — About 190 victims of child sexual abuse by priests or other church representatives have been promised financial compensation so far from France’s Catholic Church under a sweeping reparations program, the independent body in charge of the process said Thursday.
A report from the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation, or INIRR, said 11 other people received other types of reparations. Hundreds of other cases are still awaiting review.
More than 1,180 victims of priests or other church representatives have come forward to claim compensation since the body was established, Marie Derain de Vaucresson, head of the INIRR, said during a news conference. She said 32% were women and 68% men. Among them, 404 are now receiving support from the INIRR, while most are waiting for their cases to be examined.
Derain de Vaucresson said 80% of the sums granted so far are above 20,000 euros ($21,128), including 40 people who received the maximum amount, set at 60,000 euros ($63,386).
The majority of those who reached out to the INIRR reported “very serious” crimes, she stressed, adding that 60% of those who received financial compensation had been raped once or several times. In 58% of the cases, the abuses continued for more than a year. They happened at schools, at the abuser’s home, at catechism class, in youth organizations and other situations, the INIRR said in a report.
France’s Catholic bishops’ conference agreed to provide reparations after a 2021 report estimated some 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures in France. The estimates were based on broader research by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research into sexual abuse of children.
The report described a “systemic” coverup by church officials and urged the French Catholic Church to respect the rule of law in France.
One the INIRR approves the financial compensation, each case is sent to a special fund financed by the church for payment.