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Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston 15 years ago over a Church sex abuse scandal, has died aged 86 in Rome.

Cardinal Law stepped down in 2002 after journalists reported he had moved paedophile priests between parishes rather than addressing victims’ claims.

The film Spotlight was later made about the allegations against dozens of priests in his Boston diocese. After leaving Boston, Cardinal Law took a post at the Vatican. He worked there until 2011.

The child sex abuse allegations, which covered events over a period of decades, led to hundreds of lawsuits and threatened the Boston diocese with bankruptcy.

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As a result, it agreed to sell land and buildings for more than $100m (£63m) to fund legal settlements for more than 500 victims.

The scandal prompted the Vatican to draw up new plans to combat child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Who was Cardinal Law?

Born in 1931 in Torreon, Mexico, Cardinal Law was the son of a US Air Force colonel and a musician. He graduated from Harvard University and was ordained a priest in 1961.

He soon became heavily involved in civil rights work in Mississippi and his name was included on a hit list compiled by segregationists.

In 1984, Cardinal Law was appointed Archbishop of Boston and was a high-profile figure both in Church matters and in the wider world.

He raised millions of dollars to help victims of natural disasters and worked to improve ties between Catholics and other Christian groups.
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Cardinal Law held deeply traditional positions on issues such as Aids, abortion, same-sex marriage and education policy. He stepped down as Archbishop of Boston in 2002 following a series of reports alleging the cover-up of sexual misconduct by priests exposed by the Boston Globe newspaper’s investigative Spotlight team. “It is my fervent prayer that this action may help the archdiocese of Boston to experience the healing, reconciliation and unity which are so desperately needed,” he said at the time.