The secret files show those in charge -- Cardinals Cody, Bernardin and George -- were informed of allegations dating back to the 1960s, and then Cook County State's Attorney Rich Daley was also made aware of some wrongdoing.
In a historic move Tuesday, the Chicago Archdiocese released its own internal documents on 30 priests accused of sexual abuse. Survivors say this is proof a cover-up at the highest levels took place for decades.
Survivors of priest sex abuse insist the release of 6,000 pages of secret documents from the Chicago Archdiocese prove a cover-up took place for decades.
"These files what they mean to me is truth," said survivor Joe Iaccono.
The secret files show those in charge -- Cardinals Cody, Bernardin and George -- were informed of allegations dating back to the 1960s.
One of the 30 priests is Father Robert Mayer. More than 10 years before Mayer ended up in prison for abuse, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was aware a parish youth director compared Mayer to "Charles Manson."
Politicians are mentioned in the documents as well. Underage drinking parties in Mayer's room at St Stephens rectory were brought to the attention of the Des Plaines Police Department. Documents show that then Cook County State's Attorney Rich Daley called the Archdiocese to say the "police captain is not held in high esteem." No charges were filed.
Four years later, Cardinal Bernardin removed Mayer after a new allegation of abuse surfaced. Yet, in a letter, parishioners were told the priest was taking a sabbatical for personal reasons.
As for Father Norbert Maday, he was sent to a Wisconsin prison for abusing two teenage boys.
One letter shows Cardinal George thanking the governor of Wisconsin for his "exceptional act of charity" for allowing Maday to have a private viewing of his mother's body at the Wisconsin prison. Three years later, Cardinal George wrote to the convicted priest saying that he was praying for an "early release."
Making the documents public took more than eight years and is all part of a negotiated settlement.
"Tell me any other credible institution in the world that could have their leadership knows of sex abuse of children and none of them is fired, "said attorney Mark Pearlman.
The Archdiocese responded a week ago before the documents were released and admitted their actions are difficult to justify.
"How we treat people back then is different than what we do today. We've learned a great deal," said Bishop Francis Kane.
The Archdiocese tells us priests who resigned are given severance pay to assist them as well as help pay for their treatment. NBC5 Investigates reached out to former Mayor Richard Daley, but he has not responded.