Updated 11/6/14 - 10:43 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has released 15,000 pages of internal files regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal, detailing how the church handled allegations against 36 priests.
WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports, after a similar disclosure in January, the church has now made public previously secret files on 66 priests who sexually abused children over the past several decades.
"As we said in January, we are committed to transparency with the people we serve," Cardinal Francis George said in a written statement. "We cannot change the past but we hope we can rebuild trust through honest and open dialogue. Child abuse is a crime and a sin. The Archdiocese of Chicago is concerned first and foremost with bringing healing to abuse victims."
RELATED: List Of Priests Accused Of Sex Abuse
The file for one former priest, Walter Huppenbauer, is nearly 400 pages long.
Among the revelations, details of sex abuse involving priests like Robert Friese, who was described by a colleague as severely disturbed
Friese was convicted of sexually abusing a boy at a youth home from 1982 to 1984. The initial accusations involved fondling and other sex acts. The boy eventually ran away, and became a prostitute.
The case against former priest Peter Bowman shows how long abuse has been a problem. He was first suspected of abuse in the 1950s.
In all, approximately 21,000 pages of documents now available on the Archdiocese website show what the church knew about sex abuse allegations against those priests, when officials knew it, and what they did about it. Two other priests have been named on the Archdiocese website, but their files were not available because of pending legal proceedings.
Former Rev. Daniel McCormack has pleaded guilty to molesting five children, and has been charged in at least one other case. He's also been sued by several men who have accused him of sexual abuse, and at least one of those lawsuits has not yet been resolved.
Another former priest, Edward Maloney, was removed from the ministry in 2009, after church officials said they found credible evidence he sexually abused two boys in the 1980s. Maloney has appealed his case to the Vatican.
Cardinal George had promised full disclosure of the church's handling of sex abuse cases.
"This is when it happened, this is what we discovered, and this is what we did," Cardinal Francis George said in an interview for this weekend's "At Issue" program on WBBM.
"I just talked to a victim last week … and you see how long-lasting that is. You open that little door again, that's sometimes kept closed so they can manage their life, and everything is real, just as if it happened yesterday," he added.
All of the priests listed in the files were already out of the ministry, including 27 who have died.
The archdiocese said, including the earlier documents released in January, the files detail more than 350 incidents of sex abuse.
Church officials encouraged anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward. Complete information about reporting sexual abuse can be found on the Archdiocesan website at www.archchicago.org/departments/protection/protection.shtm.
The release fulfills the cardinal's pledge to release all the Chicago Archdiocese documents he possibly can before he retires later this month. However, many of the documents have been heavily redacted, so the specific allegations in many cases are not always clear.
George said he's releasing the files to make it easier for his successor, Bishop Blase Cupich, who takes office later this month.
"Cleaning up things as best I can, so that he has a clean slate, and doesn't have to make major decisions that might bring criticism, in the first several months anyway."
Cupich spoke on the issue three years ago at the Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"As individual Bishops and our conference leadership have done, I once again apologize fully, and without hesitation, for the harm and the suffering caused when some priests took advantage of their moral authority, and abused innocent children in a criminal way," he said.
The documents are similar to recent disclosures by other dioceses in the U.S. that showed how the church shielded priests and failed to report child sex abuse to authorities. Chicago officials said most of the abuse occurred before 1988 and none after 1996.
The files to be released Thursday concern the following priests, all of whom are out of ministry and 14 are deceased (marked with *):
• Alexander S. Baranowski*
• Richard B. Bartz
• Leonard A. Bogdan
• R. Peter Bowman*
• David F. Braun*
• Daniel P. Buck
• Eugene P. Burns*
• John W. Calicott
• Norman J. Czajka*
• Walter G. DeRoeck
• Francis E. Dilla*
• Richard W.Fassbinder*
• James V. Flosi
• Robert D. Friese
• Jesus P. Garza
• John E. Hefferan
• James Hoder
• Michael J. Hogan
• Walter E. Huppenbauer
• Robert L. Kealy
• John J. Keehan
• John J. Keough
• Leonard P. Kmak*
• William L. Lupo
• Robert J. McDonald
• Peter J. McNamara
• Gary M. Miller
• Donald J. Mulsoff*
• James M. Ray
• John A. Robinson
• John F. Rohrich
• Joseph E. Savage*
• Albert(o) Tanghal*
• Richard G. Theisen*
• Joseph S. Thomas*
• Anthony J. Vader
for more features.