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Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign as archbishop of Boston in 2002 over a sex abuse scandal, has died aged 86 in Rome, the BBC reports.
Cardinal Law was accused of having moved pedophile priests from parishes rather than confront accusations.
After leaving Boston he took a post at the Vatican where he worked until 2011.
The Boston diocese was rocked in January 2002 by allegations of sexual misconduct by dozens of priests over a time span of decades.
It avoided bankruptcy by agreeing to sell land and buildings for more than $100m (£74m) to fund legal settlements for more than 500 abuse victims.
The scandal prompted the Vatican to draw up new plans to combat child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.