The Vatican has confirmed the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, the 86-year-old disgraced ex-archbishop of Boston. He died on Wednesday in Rome.
He died “early this morning after a long illness,” the Holy See said in a statement, released on Wednesday.
Law became infamous in 2002 after allegations came to light that he not only failed to stop priests from molesting children, but that he also protected him, the The New York Times reported. Before that scandal, he was reportedly one of the most celebrated and influential leaders in the United States church. But, he was not popular. According to The New York Times, even some of his own clergy called him arrogant.
The 2002 scandal led to Law’s resignation as an archbishop. In January of that year, The Boston Globe published its bombshell church sex scandal story through a series of reports. Those stories revealed that Law transferred clergy members who abused children to different parishes without ever alerting parents or police. Law repeated that move for years.
The movie “Spotlight” depicts Law’s crimes and The Boston Globe’s investigative reporting.
Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who represented multiple alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests told NBC News in a statement, “Bernard Law could have prevented many children from being sexually abused. He knew what Father John Geoghan had done and he refused to notify the public. He refused to protect the innocent. Law's death is a reminder — his name is salt in the wound of many victims."
In 2002, a judge released documents that revealed that Reverend John J. Geoghan was transferred to multiple parishes after he was accused of molesting about 130 people.
Law had apologized for making the transfers, "saying he had relied on flawed psychiatric assessments."
But many victims aren’t accepting the apology. Alexa MacPherson said she was abused by a clergy member for six years when she was in her youth.
"Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope the gates of hell are swinging wide to allow him entrance," she told The Associated Press. "I won't shed a tear for him — I might shed a tear for everyone who's been a victim under him."
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