BOSTON - Cardinal Bernard Law, archbishop of Boston, resigned in December 2002 following months of criticism for his mishandling of sex abuse claims against priests. More than 400 alleged victims are suing the Boston Archdiocese, and there are so many lawsuits related to the sex abuse scandal that Cardinal Law had taken steps to allow it to file for bankruptcy.

In December of 2002 the archdiocese began released personnel files on eight priests. Among the allegations uncovered in the files were sexual abuse of teenage girls, abuse of cocaine and other illegal drugs, and an affair with a female parishioner.