Terry McKiernan, Spotlight on the Archives, Hamilton and Griffin on Rights

This blog entry is a brief guide to the documents, newspaper articles, and reports that are the basis of the movie Spotlight. If you wonder what Mike Rezendes is reading in the cab, or what’s in Phil Saviano’s box of documents, or what editor Marty Baron means when he says, “You’ve all done some very good reporting here,” read on.

The movie is the story of an article getting written:

Church Allowed Abuse by Priest for Years, by Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe (1/6/02)
It’s also about the fight to unseal some documents, and once those documents are unsealed, after the end of the movie, the Spotlight team will write this remarkable story:

Documents Show Church Long Supported Geoghan, by Walter V. Robinson and Matt Carroll, Boston Globe (1/24/02)
The emotional center of the movie is a cab ride through the neighborhoods, past the characters we’ve gotten to know, while reporter Mike Rezendes reads a letter aloud. The letter was written by Margaret Gallant, the aunt of the children we see at the beginning of the film. It’s one of two she writes, one to Cardinal Medeiros, and one to Cardinal Law, his successor. These are the letters, with their answers:

Margaret Gallant to Cardinal Medeiros about Geoghan and Her Family (8/10/82)
Globe Transcript of Gallant’s Handwritten Letter
Cardinal Medeiros to Margaret Gallant Replying to Her Letter (8/20/82)
Margaret Gallant to Cardinal Law about Geoghan with Boys Again (9/6/84)
Cardinal Law to Margaret Gallant Replying to Her Letter (9/21/84)
When Rezendes arrives at the Globe, he reads this letter by Auxiliary Bishop John D’Arcy, who objects that Law has reassigned Father Geoghan. Law is ignoring Gallant’s letter, and D’Arcy’s “breaking ranks,” says Sacha Pfeiffer.

Auxiliary Bishop John D’Arcy to Cardinal Law, Breaking Ranks (12/7/84)
Phil Saviano at the Globe

Rezendes and his colleagues have been prepared for all of this by a conversation with survivor Phil Saviano, who urges them to read a report by the scholar/therapist Richard Sipe:

Preliminary Expert Report in the Kos Case, by A.W. Richard Sipe, Posted by The Linkup (1996)
The conversation with Saviano also introduces them to the Gauthe case in Louisiana, first reported in a local weekly newspaper:

The Tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe, by Jason Berry, The Times of Acadiana (5/23/85)
and the Porter case in nearby Fall River:

Town Secret: The Case of James Porter, by Linda Matchan, Boston Globe Magazine (8/29/93)
The Matchan article isn’t mentioned in the movie, but in real life, it was the moment after which the Globe turned away from the clergy abuse story for a time, to return in late 2001.

Following up on Saviano’s recommendation, the reporters talk with Sipe, who tells them about Tom Doyle. “The Manual” that Doyle co-wrote after working on the Gauthe case for the papal nuncio, explains Sipe, was encouraged and then disowned by the bishops:

The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy (The Manual), by Rev. Thomas P. Doyle OP et al. (6/9/85)
Saviano had shown the reporters two books: Richard Sipe’s Sex, Priests and Power: The Anatomy of a Crisis, which provided a theory for the movement, and Jason Berry’s Lead Us Not into Temptation, which told Doyle’s story and offered a model for investigative reporting on the crisis.

Speech After Long Silence

But Spotlight is working on the Geoghan case at all because newly hired editor Marty Baron is impressed by Eileen McNamara’s column on the Geoghan cases. McNamara wrote 21 columns all told on Geoghan, going back to the year after Garabedian filed his first lawsuit:

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian’s First Lawsuit Against Father Geoghan (7/9/96)
The McNamara column that moved Baron was:

A Familiar Pattern, by Eileen McNamara, Boston Globe (7/22/01)
followed by:

Passing the Buck, by Eileen McNamara, Boston Globe (7/29/01)
The Globe did some reporting on Geoghan in 2001, but the reporter who worked aggressively on the story was Kristen Lombardi at the Phoenix, an alternative weekly. Her important article on Geoghan is mentioned by Garabedian when he and Rezendes first meet:

Cardinal Sin, by Kristen Lombardi, Boston Phoenix (3/23/01)
The Globe’s relative silence between Porter and Geoghan meant that the paper ignored two strong leads. The Globe had run a story on Saviano’s own abuse:

Two Accuse Ex-Worcester Priest of Molesting Them, Lawyer Says, by Stephen Kurkjian, Boston Globe (1/8/93)
but had not followed up when Saviano first sent them his box of documents.

Similarly, attorney Eric MacLeish, who represented the Porter victims, had informed the Globe that he knew of 20 Boston priests accused of molesting children. The Globe buried the story in Metro, where reporter Walter Robinson was editor at the time:

Lawyer for Porter Victims Says 20 Other Priests in Area Are Accused, by James L. Franklin, Boston Globe (12/9/93)
Where the Globe could have taken the story in 1993, if it had chosen to do so, may be seen from MacLeish’s letter in that year to archdiocesan attorney Wilson Rogers, who appears in the Sweeney courtroom scene:

Allegations of Sexual Abuse Against Priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, by Eric MacLeish, Eckert Seamans (9/27/93)
The letter is among over 45,000 pages of archdiocesan files made public by MacLeish in 2002-2003. The documents were the basis for the Globe’s reporting, as may be seen from these two major stories:

Shanley’s Record Long Ignored: Files Show Law, Others Backed Priest, by Walter V. Robinson and Thomas Farragher, Boston Globe (4/9/02)
More Clergy Abuse, Secrecy Cases: Records Detail Quiet Shifting of Rogue Priests, by Thomas Farragher and Sacha Pfeiffer, Boston Globe (12/4/02)
The Seal Is Broken

Judge Sweeney ruled in favor of the Globe’s motion:

Judge’s Ruling Frees Documents in Geoghan Case, by Kathleen Burge, Boston Globe (11/30/01)
and the floodgates were opened, both for Spotlight coverage of the Boston story beyond Geoghan:

Priest Says He, Too, Molested Boys, by Sacha Pfeiffer and Steve Kurkjian, Boston Globe (1/26/2002)
Priest Treatment Unfolds in Costly, Secretive World, by Ellen Barry, Boston Globe (4/3/02)
Chronological Links to Nearly 600 Spotlight Articles
and also for the national and global coverage represented by the lists of cities at the end of the movie.

In addition to the reporters featured in the movie, Globe reporters Michael Paulson, Thomas Farragher, and Steve Kurkjian did crucial work:

Heavy Blow to Cardinal’s Credibility, by Michael Paulson, Boston Globe (4/9/02)
Through Kansas Parishes, A Trail of Suicide, by Thomas Farragher, Boston Globe (7/18/02)
Sex Cases May Cost Church $100M, by Stephen Kurkjian and Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe (3/3/2002)
In some cities, newspapers devoted considerable resources to major series:

Archdiocese for Years Kept Allegations of Abuse from Police, by Glenn F. Bunting, Ralph Frammolino, and Richard Winton, LA Times (8/18/02)
Alleged Victims Say Incidents Altered Lives, by Wolfson, Hall, Smith, and Yetter, Louisville Courier-Journal (9/29/02)
The reporters at the Dallas Morning News did fine reporting before, during, and after 2002. The first story provides documents from the file of Fr. David Holley, who abused Phil Saviano and many other children.

Documents Show Bishops Transferred Known Abuser, by Brooks Egerton and Michael D. Goldhaber, Dallas Morning News (8/31/97)
Two-Thirds of Bishops Let Accused Priests Work, by Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin, Dallas Morning News (6/12/02)
Hiding in Plain Sight: Runaway Priests, by Brooks Egerton, Reese Dunklin, and Brendan M. Case, Dallas Morning News (6/12/02)
Excellent reporting continues to be done:

Archdiocese Knew of Priest’s Sexual Misbehavior, Yet Kept Him in Ministry, and Betrayed by Silence, by Madeleine Baran, MPR News (2013-2014)
The Journalism of Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, Gallup Independent (2003-2015)
Fugitive Fathers, by Will Carless (September 2015)
Courageous Witness

The revelations documented above, and indeed nearly all the accounts we have about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, come from the courageous witness of survivors. We end with several examples:
Living on a “Fault” Line, by David Coleman (1992)
Impact Statement, by Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher, Speech at the USCCB Meeting in Dallas TX (6/13/02)
What Took You So Long? by Phil Saviano, Speech at the First VOTF National Conference (7/20/02)

Full article: http://hamilton-griffin.com/bishopaccountability-org-spotlight-on-the-archives/