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The Church was widely criticized when it was discovered that some bishops knew about the crimes committed, but reassigned the accused instead of seeking to have them permanently removed from the priesthood.
In addition, several bishops who had participated in the cover-up were also forced to resign or retire.
Allegations in the United States also encouraged victims in other nations to come forward, rapidly creating a global crisis for the Church.
Over many decades, priests and lay members of religious orders in the Roman Catholic Church had sexually abused children, principally boys, on such a large scale, that the accusations reached into the thousands.
The issue of child rape and sexual assault of Roman Catholic children became a national scandal.
In April 2007 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon agreed to a million settlement with 177 claimants and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle agreed to a million settlement with more than 160 victims.