Even after the scandal over John Geoghan spilled into the public arena in January, lawyers for the archdiocese and plaintiffs, pushed along by mediator Paul A. Finn, continued to work toward a settlement.
Some key moments:
Jan. 16 Wilson D. Rogers Jr., the archdiocese's lawyer, agrees to the parameters of the settlements, between $15 million and $30 million.
Jan. 18 As the two sides negotiated in private, Judge Constance M. Sweeney let them know that nearly 10,000 pages of documents about Geoghan would become public on Jan. 25.
March 4 Rogers and Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the Geoghan victims, reach a tentative accord.
March 11 After a marathon meeting, both sides reach final agreement on a settlement that would distribute between $15 million and $30 million among the plaintiffs, depending on the severity of the abuse they suffered.
March 12 Cardinal Bernard F. Law issues a statement praising the settlement decision, saying, "the settlement is an important step in reaching closure for these victims." Church spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey adds: "Today's agreement was grounded in Cardinal Law's desire to respond to the victims in a fair and just manner."
March 14 In a conference call with all the parties, archdiocesan Chancellor David W. Smith assures the lawyers for both sides that the archdiocese has the funds for the settlement.
April 8 Thousands of pages of secret documents are made public that disclose that the archdiocese failed to act against the Rev. Paul R. Shanley, despite his public advocacy of sexual relations between men and boys.
April 12 Judge Sweeney stops discovery in the Geoghan lawsuits, including a planned April 3 deposition for Law, after lawyers for both sides tell her the agreement has been finalized and parties on both sides are signing the documents.
April 16 Garabedian delivers the final documents showing that all of his delivered clients have signed the agreements.
April 17 Cardinal Law is advised at a meeting that the Shanley disclosures have had a negative effect on fundraising, and that the church might not have money to fund the Geoghan settlements.
April 30 The Globe reports that at least three members of the archdiocesan Finance Committee are opposed to approving the Geoghan settlement later that week.
May 3 By a 10-3 vote, the Finance Committee disapproves the settlement. The archdiocese announces for first time that its approval was required, not advisory.