Key dates in the Pennsylvania church abuse scandal

A new grand jury report released Tuesday details widespread sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses, alleging over 300 priests victimized more than 1,000 children over the past six decades, and that church officials took steps to conceal and protect abusive clergymen. Victim advocates say it's the most exhaustive review of clergy sex abuse by a U.S. state. The state's other dioceses had previously been the subject of grand jury probes.

Key dates in the Pennsylvania church abuse scandal:

2002: Clergy sex abuse erupts into a national crisis for the Roman Catholic Church following an investigation of the Archdiocese of Boston by The Boston Globe.

September 2003: A grand jury impaneled by the Philadelphia district attorney's office returns results of its investigation of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Relying in part on previously secret church documents, the grand jury report describes a "concerted campaign" by church leaders to cover up abuse and transfer accused priests to other parishes. It documents child sexual abuse by at least 63 priests and reveals hundreds of child victims.

September 2005: A judge unseals the Philadelphia grand jury report.

February 2011: A second Philadelphia grand jury report looks into allegations the church has failed to stop the sexual abuse of children or change how abuse allegations are handled. The report says 37 more priests have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

February 2012: Monsignor William Lynn is arrested. Lynn is the most senior U.S. official in the church to be tried in relation to abuse allegations, and the first to be charged with endangering children for allegedly failing to remove accused predators or report them to law enforcement. Lynn is convicted in June 2012, but his conviction is overturned in late 2013 and he's released after serving 18 months in prison. A new trial is ordered by Superior Court.

March 2016: A grand jury impaneled by the Pennsylvania attorney general releases a report into allegations of child sexual abuse at the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. The statewide grand jury looks into accusations against more than 50 priests involving hundreds of children.

July 2016: Flooded with calls alleging past child sexual abuse at other Pennsylvania dioceses, the state attorney general begins a grand jury investigation into the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

July 2017: The grand jury probe yields its first charges, against a retired priest, John Thomas Sweeney of the Greensburg Diocese. The victim had come forward after watching the movie "Spotlight" to say he'd been molested 25 years earlier.

April 2018: The Erie Diocese releases the names of three dozen living and deceased clergy members and nearly 20 lay people who have faced credible allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct involving minors. The list also includes the current whereabouts of those accused and the sanctions taken by the church. The diocese adds 13 more names to the list in two later disclosures.

May 2018: The attorney general's office charges a priest from the Erie Diocese with sexually abusing at least two boys, one of whom alleges the priest molested him repeatedly while he served as an altar boy and then made him confess the abuse.

June 5: The judge supervising the grand jury investigation of six dioceses orders the public release of its report. The judge says the panel has heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal church documents.

June 20: The state Supreme Court puts a hold on the report's release, explaining several days later that "many individuals" named in the report had filed challenges.

July 2: The attorney general files a sealed legal action seeking to lift the high court's stay. Media groups, including The Associated Press, also go to court to seek the report's public release.

July 27: The state Supreme Court orders the report to be released, saying it identifies more than 300 "predator priests." The justices say the report will initially be released without the names of priests and others who have challenged the findings.

July 31: Sweeney pleads guilty to reduced charges of indecent assault. He faces up to five years in prison.

Aug. 1: The Harrisburg Diocese identifies 71 priests and other members of the church who had been accused of child sex abuse and says the names of bishops who led the church for 70 years will be stripped from church properties.

Aug. 3: A court filing excerpts the grand jury report to come. The filing says the grand jury concluded that victims were "brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institutions above all." Erie Bishop Donald Trautman drops his challenge to the report's publication in its current form after prosecutors agree some of its broad claims were not specifically directed at him.

Aug. 4: The bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese says he will release the names of any members of his clergy who are accused in the grand jury report.

Aug. 9: The Greensburg Diocese publishes a 12-page newsletter saying that, once the report is published, it will update its website with the names of clergy in the diocese with credible allegations against them.

Aug. 10: The bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese says a few priests to be named in the report are still in ministry because the diocese determined allegations against them were unsubstantiated.

Aug. 14: Landmark grand jury report made public.

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