The attorneys representing the sex abuse victims of 30 Chicago priests have released the internal files showing years of cover-up and the transfer of abusive priests to new parishes.
The documents include letters from Cardinals Joseph Bernardin and Francis George to abusing priests as well as internal memos from those bishops in charge. The 6,000 documents made public Tuesday morning are part of an eight year long negotiated settlement between the Archdiocese and the attorneys for the victims.
While NBC Chicago first broke the abuse story in 1990 and has followed it closely, these reports will reveal for the first time what the Archdiocese knew, when they knew it and how the information was concealed from parishioners.
"Publishing for all to read the actual records of these crimes raises transparency to a new level," George wrote in a letter distributed to parishes earlier this month. "It will be helpful, we pray, for some, but painful for many."
(Editor's Note: Many of the details included in the previously-secret documents are graphic in nature. Readers should consider whether they want to review such material.)
The files focus on the victims represented by attorneys Jeff Anderson and Mark Pearlman. Of the 30 priests referenced, 14 are dead. The Archdiocese said it is beginning to discuss how to release the files of all of the priests. However the files of any priests or brothers accused of abuse from religious orders must come through their specific order.