When the abuse scandal broke in January 2002, Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly immediately raised questions about the church's handling of abuse allegations and urged the Archdiocese of Boston to turn over its records to prosecutors for possible criminal action. In 2002, nine priests were criminally charged with rape or molestation.
Many more priests were sued in civil court by newly emboldened victims. Attorneys Mitchell Garabedian and Roderick MacLeish, representing many of the victims, deposed Cardinal Bernard F. Law and other top church officials and successfully lobbied for the release of thousands of church documents.
In December 2002, Reilly said the state had sufficient evidence of a church coverup to consider prosecuting the archdiocese under a doctrine of liability. That same month, Law and at least five bishops were subpoenaed to appear before a state grand jury investigating possible criminal violations by the church.
Although Law has resigned as Boston archbishop, efforts by state prosecutors and victims' lawyers to hold the church accountable continue.
See the story list to the left for the latest coverage of the investigations into clergy sexual abuse.
Attorney General Thomas Reilly talks about the investigation of the church. (Globe Staff Photo / Tom Herde)
Victims' attorney Roderick MacLeish discusses new church documents. (Globe Staff Photo / Evan Richman)