French Catholic Church had estimated 3,000 pedophiles since 1950s

The French Catholic Church has had an estimated 3,000 pedophiles in its ranks over the past 70 years, the head of an independent commission investigating the sex abuse scandal said in an interview published on Sunday.

"We have estimated the number as standing at 3,000, out of 115,000 priests and religious officials, going back to the 1950s," commission head Jean-Marc Sauve told the Journal du Dimanche paper.

A spokesperson representing the French Catholic Bishops' Conference declined to comment on Sauve's remarks. The commission is due to publish its findings on Tuesday.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit worldwide by sexual abuse scandals, often involving children, over the past 20 years.

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