Defrocked ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick last week became the highest-ranking Catholic church official to be criminally charged for sexual abuse, for assault and battery on a 16-year-old boy in Wellesley in the 1970s. Meanwhile, in unrelated cases, the archdiocese of Boston settled six lawsuits last week with former leaders accused of assaults across the state ranging from 1966 to 1990. Jim Braude was joined on Greater Boston by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of victims of church abuse to talk about the church’s longstanding problem with sexual abuse in its ranks.

Garabedian said the McCarrick case could represent “a new era” for going after powerful leaders in the church, as more victims keep coming forward.

“He wanted to take the weight off his shoulders — the emotional weight that many victims have and carry through their lives after being sexually abused as children,” Garabedian said about why McCarrick’s victim came forward now. “And he wanted to help other individuals, other sexual abuse victims, whether it be clergy sexual abuse victims or not. He wanted to help them, and he wanted to empower them. And lastly, he wanted to make the world a safer place for children through transparency — something the church will not do.”

WATCH: Ex-cardinal McCarrick is charged and Boston archdiocese settles six lawsuits