Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spotlight the Film // Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church

Hopefully by now you have heard of the movie, Spotlight, after its three Golden Globe nominations and hopefully you have seen it. If not, the film is about The Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States and their investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts and the cover up behind it. In 2003 the team received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

I've been a fan of the writer/director, Thomas McCarthy, for years and was excited to see his latest film, (especially since his last one, The Cobbler, was quite the disaster) and was not disappointed. Because the actual Spotlight team seemed very much involved with the film I wanted to look into them a bit more. Below is a break down of the real life team and who portrayed them in the film.

Who: Walter "Robby" Robinson
Portrayed by: Michael Keaton
Bio: Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The Boston Globe, where he worked as reporter and editor for 34 years. Since 2007, he has been a Distinguished Professor of Journalism at the Northeastern University in Boston.
Robinson led the Globe‍'​s coverage of the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal, for which the newspaper won, and he personally accepted, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The last investigation Robinson led for the Spotlight Team, called "Debtors Hell", exposed the practices of debt collectors. That work was a finalist for the Local Reporting Pulitzer in 2007. The Pulitzer Board cited the staff's "well documented exposure, in print and online, of unscrupulous debt collectors, causing two firms to close and prompting action by state officials."[1]

Who: Michael Rezendes
Portrayed by: Mark Ruffalo
Bio: Michael Rezendes is a member of the Globe's Spotlight Team and is one of the reporters and editors who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The reporters also won the George Polk Award for National Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, and numerous other honors.
As a staff writer and editor at the Globe since 1989, Rezendes has covered presidential, state and local politics, and was a weekly essayist, roving national correspondent, City Hall Bureau Chief, and the assistant editor for national news. He was also part of a team that won a first-place award from the Education Writers Association for a special section on the legacy of school desegregation.
In 2008 and 2009, he was the recipient of a John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University.[1]
Follow on Twitter: @MikeRezendes

Who: Sacha Pfeiffer
Portrayed by: Rachel McAdams
Bio: Pfeiffer is a columnist and reporter covering nonprofits, philanthropy and wealth, and was on the Spotlight investigative team that won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its stories on clergy sex abuse. She has also been a senior reporter and host of All Things Considered and Radio Boston at WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, and a host of NPR’s nationally syndicated Here & Now. At WBUR she won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast reporting. Pfeiffer was a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University and co-authored Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church. [1]
Follow on Twitter: @SachaPfeiffer

Who: Matt Carroll
Portrayed by: Brian d'Arcy James
Bio: Matt Carroll has worked at the Globe since 1987 and has been a member of the Spotlight team since 1997. Before becoming a reporter, he worked as a copy editor on the Business desk for two years.
As a reporter, Carroll has covered real estate and the MetroWest area. In 1994 he started the Globe's first internal website, which is used by reporters and editors, under the tutelage of the Information Technology Department.
Carroll specializes in computer-assisted reporting and handles the paper's growing library of databases.[1]
Follow on twitter:@MattAtMIT

Who: Marty Baron
Portrayed by: Live Schreiber
Bio: Baron began working for The Miami Herald in 1976, then moved to The Los Angeles Times in 1979 and to The New York Times in 1996. He returned to the Herald as executive editor in 2000 and was at the helm of coverage of numerous key stories, including Elián González' return to Cuba and the 2000 election.
Baron's editorial helm at the Globe, where he succeeded Matthew V. Storin, shifted the paper's coverage of international events to locally centered investigative journalism. The Globe‍ '​s coverage of the Boston Catholic sexual abuse scandal earned them a Pulitzer Prize.[1]
Follow on Twitter: @PostBaron

Who: Ben Bradlee Jr.
Portrayed by: John Slattery
Bio: Ben Bradlee Jr. has spent 23 years with Globe, first as a reporter and for the past 13 years as an editor.
As a reporter, Bradlee worked on the Spotlight Team, at the State House bureau, and was the paper's national correspondent from 1982 to 1986. He has reported from Afghanistan, South Africa and elsewhere.[1]
In 1993, he was promoted to be Assistant Managing Editor responsible for investigations and projects. In that role, he edited the Globe's reporting that uncovered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston's repeated cover-ups of sexual abuse of children by priests, a painstaking investigation that began in 2001 and continued for two years.[2]
Follow on Twitter: @BenBradleeJr

Who: Mitchell Garabedian
Portrayed by: Stanley Tucci
Bio: He is the founder of Garabedian Law and since 1979 has focused on helping individuals and representing victims of sexual abuse. He has successfully argued that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution does not bar clergy sexual abuse cases. He has successfully argued that state statute of limitations have not expired in cases brought by adults who were sexually abused when they were young children. In his advocacy work, he has successfully represented individuals in Massachusetts trial and appellate courts, as well as in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He drafted legislation that added clergy to the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse. He continues to represent sexual abuse victims and support changes in legislation.[1]

Who: Eric Macleish
Portrayed by: Billy Crudup
Bio: Eric MacLeish is a 1978 cum laude graduate of Boston University Law School. He clerked for the U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro following graduation. He was the co-founder of the Boston offices of two national law firms; Greenberg Traurig and Eckert Seamans, where he was national co-chair of the litigation department. He has been recognized as one of the top ten winning trial lawyers in the country by the National Law Journal and has received numerous awards for his work including the Champion for Justice Award from the National Crime Victims Bar Association.[1] In the early 1990s MacLeish represented hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests. He and other lawyers won sizable sums of money for their clients (and themselves) by settling cases with the Roman Catholic Church confidentially. The film notes he was someone who tried early to alert the Globe to a large number of priests accused of abuse in Boston.[2]

Who: Phil Saviano
Portrayed by: Neal Huff
Bio: Phil Saviano is a significant figure in the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He founded the organization's New England chapter, which held its first meeting under his leadership on May 10, 1997, and he has also served as SNAP's web master. Saviano's public involvement in the abuse crisis dates to an interview he gave to the Boston Globe for a January 8, 1993 article about the Rev. David A. Holley. In subsequent years, Saviano researched Holley's career in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado, becoming in the process an expert on the Holley file and the Catholic church's transfer practices generally.[1]

Who: Joe Crowley (L)
Portrayed by: Michael Cyril Creighton (R)
Bio: [From this article]He was a 15-year-old student at Boston College High School, on a college path, when a predator wearing a Roman collar named Paul Shanley changed all that. Shanley abused Crowley, then sent him to other men.

Who: Patrick McSorley
Portrayed by: Jimmy LeBlanc
Bio: In 1986, McSorley said Geoghan visited his home to offer condolences after his father committed suicide. Geoghan took McSorley out for ice cream and sexually abused him in the car. At the time, Patrick was 12 years old. A troubled life followed the incident. McSorley spent many years in and out of drug rehabilitation centers to overcome his substance abuse problem. Last June, he nearly drowned in the Neponset River. A month later, he was arrested on drug charges.
McSorley was one of hundreds of Geoghan victims who sued the archdiocese.[1]
Sadly, Patrick passed away in 2004, you can read more about him here.

Who: Richard Sipe
Portrayed by: Richard Jenkins
Bio: A.W. Richard Sipe is a former Benedictine monk-priest of 18 years, a sociologist and author of 6 books about Catholicism American Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor trained specifically to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic Priests. He practiced psychotherapy, "taught on the faculties of Major Catholic Seminaries and colleges, lectured in medical schools, and served as a consultant and expert witness in both civil and criminal cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests". During his training and therapies, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study published in 1990 about the celibate/sexual behavior of that population. In 1970 [1]
He is not seen in the film but rather speaks over the phone with Rezendes multiple times.

The Boston Globe team also wrote a book, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church, that goes more into what the team found and learned rather than the investigation itself. I received a free trial to Audible and saw the book was available so I decided to download it. I've never really done the book on tape before and am planning on buying the actual book because there is so much information, so many names, that having the opportunity to highlight and flip back and forth would have made following along a lot easier.

Yes, it is a tough book to get through, but any time I thought, "man, I can't listen to more of this" I would remember that the survivors need their voices and stories heard.

The Spotlight team aren't psychologists, so I understand why the book didn't delve more into that aspect of priests and why this was such a common occurrence in the church. I mention this because in the movie, Sacha goes to a home of one of the priests and he admits without hesitation that he molested boys. The scene is brief and jaw dropping but nothing more is mentioned about him in the rest of the movie. That man's name is Ronald H. Paquin and he too, was raped by a priest when he was growing up. There is that cycle of abuse that sadly happens, but why did he not feel guilt when he molested someone else? He claims he never felt gratified and doesn't consider himself a pedophile because he's not a predator. Then there is Paul Shanley, a "street priest" who catered to drug addicts, runaways and others, some of whom struggled with their sexuality. He took advantage of his position as well as those who were vulnerable. There are just so many "whys" in my head that I can't fully articulate. One is, why is this such a common occurrence in the church? Until the scandal broke, it wasn't common knowledge that this was happening, I can't imagine someone thinking "I'm going to become a priest to give in to my sick thoughts." If anyone out there knows of any books or journals or articles that look into the psychology of all this, recommendations would be great.

To read more about the Boston Globe's coverage of the scandal and their archives, visit here.

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