“Church allowed abuse by priest for years” was the headline of the Boston Globe on Sunday, January 6, 2002. Reporters at the Boston Globe exposed the truth about the horrendous decades of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in the Boston area. This story launched the Catholic Church’s secrets into public view and helped unravel the pattern of abuse perpetuated by its leaders for decades. The abuse, however, was not limited to the city of Boston—or even just the United States. Claims of sexual abuse spanned the globe. Thousands of priests have been accused, and the Catholic Church has paid almost $4 billion in lawsuits stemming from sexual abuse allegations. Church officials often swept these abuse allegations under the rug and effectively allowed priests to continue abusing children for decades. This represents a deeply-rooted systemic problem—church leaders protected priests and the image of the Catholic Church at the expense of children. When allegations came to light, rather than hold abusers accountable for their actions, church leaders would simply move the abusers to another diocese where they could continue harming children.

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