It's been 15 years since the legacy of former Boston archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law, who died Wednesday morning at the age of 86, was tainted by the Catholic Church abuse scandal. In that time, understanding of sexual misconduct and procedures for reporting sexual abuse have evolved — both within religious spheres and beyond. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, former state attorney general and district attorney Martha Coakley, and Boston Public Radio co-host Margery Eagan joined Greater Boston Wednesday to discuss whether this understanding has evolved enough to prevent incidents like those detailed in 2002 scandal. 

Law went from being a beloved, devoted member of the Catholic Church to an emblem of the scandal after it was revealed that he and other clergymen in the city's archdiocese covered up decades of accusations of child sexual abuse. In December 2002, Law resigned as the archbishop of Boston. He moved to Rome, where he was appointed the archpriest at Basilica of St. Mary Major by Pope John Paul II in 2004. He left that position in 2011.

Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse, was on the fence about whether the laws or societal views surrounding church abuse have improved since the scandal. 

“In Massachusetts, they're getting better. Across the country, they're not. You often hear opponents of victims speak out saying, 'That person should not be speaking out. They should try this case in court.' But they can't try the case in court because the statute of limitations has run," Garabedian said. "The church isn't going to change. They've been doing this for centuries. They've been raping kids at a wholesale pace for centuries. You can't keep track of the church, it's a trillion-dollar business. What is changing is society's attitude of 'I better watch my child when that child is around a priest,' or in Hollywood or in anywhere else. That's what's changing.”

Coakley, who successfully prosecuted former priests John Geoghan and Paul Shanley for abuse-related crimes, believes reporting laws are stronger now.

"The church has to report,” she said. “I think DAs offices have specialized child abuse units that have gotten better at this, and I think the power of the church has also changed — that they no longer have the ability to enable, to hide, to move priests around. That's the biggest change, and that's the important thing. We see this now in other cases where predators are supported in their movie careers and politics. That is all crumbling, but some of this started with this — not letting authority get away with enabling predators.”

“I think what's changed is attitudes,” added Eagan. “We’ve seen the priests. Now we're seeing this 'Me Too' moment, and I think there's a change in attitudes. I think we believe victims a lot more than we used to.”

Garabedian, though, was still not convinced.

“Right now, in my office, I have over 500 Catholic clergy sex abuse cases,” he said. “I'm fighting tooth and nail with law firms. I'm fighting tooth and nail with churches. I'm fighting with religious orders or diocese or archdiocese saying, 'You're not going to touch us. Don't bother us' … The public has been more aware of the need to protect children. That's the success. The church has circled the wagon tighter than ever.”

He also criticized the Catholic Church's decision to give Law a full cardinal's funeral, complete with a final blessing from the Pope.

“It’s a slap in the face. It's insulting," he said. "And if these criminals weren't hiding behind a cloak of religion, maybe they'd be in jail."

Click the video player above to watch the entire interview.