The files include one case of a priest who later admitted to having sexual contact with more than 100 boys while serving in several Southern California parishes for years.
The papers, which were released under the terms of a $660 million settlement agreement reached in 2007, are the first glimpse at what religious orders knew about the envoys they posted in Roman Catholic schools and parishes around the Los Angeles area. The archdiocese itself released thousands of pages under court order this year for its own priests who were accused of sexual abuse, but the full picture of sex abuse in Los Angeles remained elusive without the religious orders' records.
Several dozen more files are expected to be released by the fall.
The files cover five different religious orders that employed 10 priests or religious brothers and two nuns who were all accused in civil lawsuits of molesting children while working within the Los Angeles archdiocese. Among them, the accused had 21 alleged victims who alleged abuse between the 1950s and the 1980s.