The Archdiocese of Chicago will release thousands of pages of documents Tuesday detailing sexual misconduct of 30 priests and how the archdiocese dealt with the scandal.
Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago, announced the release in a letter last week. George said that almost all the incidents happened decades ago, none since 1996, and all legal cases have been settled.
"Painful though publicly reviewing the past can be, it is part of the accountability and transparency to which the Archdiocese is committed," George said.
Victims' attorneys say the documents will show the archdiocese concealed abuse for decades, including moving priests to new parishes where they molested again.
The disclosures are similar to disclosures made in other dioceses in recent years that showed how the Roman Catholic Church shielded priests and failed for many years to report child sex abuse to authorities.
"Telling the truth does not create an excuse for failure," George said. "But it makes a difference, as we go forward, to know in what the failure consists, to know that the truth has been told and that the Church is committed to accountability and transparency."
Debra Brian, a 24-year-old Catholic from Chicago, had not yet seen or heard what was included in the documents, but said Sunday that the church is doing the right thing.
"Hopefully it will help people come forward," said Brian.
The archdiocese has paid millions of dollars to settle sexual abuse claims, including those against Father Daniel McCormack, who was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in 2007 to abusing five children while he was parish priest at St. Agatha Catholic Church and a teacher at a Catholic school.
The next year, the archdiocese agreed to pay $12.6 million to 16 victims of sexual abuse by priests, including McCormack.
Files on McCormack will not be among those released; they have been sealed by a judge because of pending court cases, said Chicago attorney Marc Pearlman, who has represented about 200 victims of clergy abuse in the Chicago area. Pearlman said he and St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson will re-release the McCormack documents that they have.
Many of the accused priests are dead, and the documents will include only 30 of 65 priests for whom the archdiocese says it has credible allegations of abuse.
Peter Isely, Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said it's important for all Chicago-area Catholics to read the documents.
"This is about a part of their story as Chicago Catholics that … has been systematically hidden," Isely said.
Contributing: Associated Press