Facing the prospect of leaving their most closely watched gathering in years with no consensus response to the sex abuse crisis that has gripped their church since summer, the nation's Catholic bishops pushed Wednesday for something - anything - they might approve to show they were taking the problem seriously.
The surprise announcement pulled the rug out from what was slated to be a three-day reckoning for the prelates on their own conduct amid a new low-point in a crisis that has plagued the nation's 196 Catholic diocese for decades.
Though details on the so-called "reparation funds" remained hazy - including just how much church officials have set aside in each diocese to compensate victims - Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput described the church's financial commitment in his city as "significant."
William M. McSwain said his office could potentially seek court orders to bar the facility's opening or initiate criminal forfeiture proceedings against the operation. Arrests could be a possibility, too.
Court records show that he was charged with multiple felonies - including institutional sexual assault of a minor, child endangerment, and illegally photographing or filming a sex act - all tied to an alleged offense that occurred in May.
Cosby has now become the first high-profile man of the #MeToo era sentenced to prison for decades-old sexual misconduct that in years past might have been swept under the rug or ignored. His sentence also cemented his dramatic transformation from an icon revered as a trailblazer for other black entertainers to a Hollywood pariah brought down by his own sense of sexual privilege.
Bishop Michael Joseph Bransfield was first accused in Philadelphia of molesting a minor and enabling the abuse of others - charges he strenuously denied. Church officials announced his resignation Thursday as bishop of a West Virginia diocese and launched a probe into "allegations of sexual harassment of adults."
As McCord prepares to be sentenced Tuesday before U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III for his crimes, the key to his punishment is how much credit he will receive for his cooperation with federal authorities and how happy prosecutors were with his performance as a government witness.
Jeremy Roebuck covers federal courts and law enforcement.