January 2002: Scandal breaks with reports that priests in Boston sexually abused hundreds of children over past decades; victims across nation later file lawsuits.
September 2003: Archdiocese of Boston agrees to pay $85 million to settle 552 clergy sex abuse claims. In December 2002 Pope John Paul II accepts resignation of Boston Archbishop Bernard Law after court documents suggested he routinely covered up allegations of abuse involving scores of priests, shuffling some from one parish to the next.
July 2004: Beset by abuse claims, Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., becomes first to seek bankruptcy protection.
September 2004: Diocese of Tucson (Arizona) seeks bankruptcy protection, followed in December by Diocese of Spokane.
2006-2011: Six more dioceses or archdioceses seek bankruptcy protection, including Milwaukee.
July 2007: Archdiocese of Los Angeles agrees to $660 million settlement with 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse, the church’s biggest U.S. payout.
September 2007: Diocese of San Diego reaches $198.1 million settlement with childhood sexual abuse victims.
February 2009: Beset by continuing claims, Jesuit order in Northwest (Oregon) becomes first Catholic religious order to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In 2011, order agrees to pay $166.1 million to about 500 abuse victims as part of bankruptcy settlement. The abuses spanned decades and states, from remote Alaskan villages to boarding schools on Northwest tribal lands.
June 2012: In Philadelphia, Monsignor William Lynn, a former cardinal’s aide, was found guilty of endangering children, becoming the first senior official of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision.