Reports of McCarrick's history of sexual abuse were initially made public in June of 2018, when the Archdiocese of New York had announced that a sexual abuse allegation against then-retired Cardinal McCarrick was "credible and substantiated."
Subsequent reports of sexual abuse or harassment of children and seminarians by McCarrick surfaced, and Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals and assigned him to a life of prayer and penance, in July of 2018.
In August 2018, former apostolic nuncio to the U.S. Carlo Maria Vigano claimed that Pope Francis knew about existing sanctions on McCarrick but chose to repeal them.
At their November 2018 meeting, just months after settlements of the Archdioceses of New York and Newark of abuse cases involving McCarrick were made public, the bishops were set to vote on a number of measures to deal with the clergy sex abuse crisis including a call for the Vatican to release all documents about McCarrick in accord with canon and civil law.
However, after the Vatican requested shortly before the meeting that the bishops not take action on the abuse crisis until an international summit of bishops in Rome in early 2019, the bishops did not end up voting on the McCarrick measure because of fears they could be viewed at odds with Rome.
Pope Francis laicized McCarrick in February 2019, shortly before convening a summit of bishops from around the world on clergy sexual abuse. The Vatican's accelerated investigation into McCarrick's case was reportedly an "administrative penal process," not a full juridical process but one used when the evidence in the case is overwhelming.
In June, the U.S. bishops' National Advisory Council unanimously requested the bishops to urge the Holy See to "make public the results of diocesan and archdiocesan investigations of Theodore McCarrick."