Survivors of clergy sex abuse hope ‘Spotlight’ film brings victims forward

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Spotlight’ needed on clergy sexual abuse in the Bay Area.

The movie “Spotlight,” which opens Nov. 6, tells the story of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigation team’s reporting during 2001 and 2002 on the clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston and its cover-up by Cardinal Bernard Law.

Making , the Tom McCarthy-directed movie about The Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, was a deeply personal experience for star Mark Ruffalo.Director Tom McCarthy and his fellow screenwriter Josh Singer knew they had a compelling story with “Spotlight.” The trick was turning it into a riveting movie. O’Malley released a statement Thursday on Spotlight, the new film that chronicles the investigation by Boston Globe reporters into the systemic sexual abuse of children within the Roman Catholic Church.

Ruffalo, who portrays reporter Michael Rezendes in the film, told reporters at Spotlight’s Boston premiere Wednesday night that he had friends who were victims of clergy abuse. “I grew up Catholic and the hypocrisy of it and the dogma of it had chilled my relationship with it very early on,” he said. “Even as a boy, I could feel it. Open Road Films, which is releasing the movie, planned the Boston showing after some victims complained that they would not be able to see the movie before it became available to general audiences. I hope this movie shines the spotlight on the Catholic Church in Oakland and San Francisco so the full extent of abuse and cover-up right here in the Bay Area may be known. The company held a small screening in early October for the victims portrayed in the movie, plus a few of their invited guests — about a dozen people altogether. Marty Baron is the former Globe editor whose idea it was to investigate the Church says, “I never thought I’d be played in a movie its inconceivable to me.” I have not seen the movie yet and therefore I am not in a position to comment on it.

O’Malley said the church continues to seek the forgiveness of those who were abused and said he has personally met with “hundreds of survivors” over the last 12 years, hearing their stories and “humbly seeking their pardon.” “I have been deeply impacted by their histories and compelled to continue working toward healing and reconciliation while upholding the commitment to do all that is possible to prevent harm to any child in the future,” he said. It just didn’t jibe with the teachings of Christ that were being taught, you know?” Several reporters and editors who worked on the story for the Globe’s Spotlight investigative team joined Ruffalo and castmate Brian d’Arcy James (who plays reporter Matt Carroll) on the red carpet outside the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts. After that screening, Open Road officials said they “learned that many Boston survivors are eager to screen the film before its public release so we arranged a private screening in Boston and have worked with local contacts to invite the appropriate guests.” Lisa Wangsness of the Globe staff contributed to this article. Seeing it play out on the big screen reminded her of the moment she realized that, as a victim, she wasn’t alone. “All of the survivors thought of ourselves as the only ones at some point,” she said. “Then we would meet a few other people and realize the enormity of the problem.

With that in mind, we acknowledge the terrible crimes committed by clergy against children and the failure of many leaders within the church to deal appropriately with these crimes. Ann Hagan Webb, former director of the New England chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told Thursday O’Malley hasn’t done enough. “He makes a big deal that he’s met with abuse survivors over the years—I know survivors who have met with him—but he has not allowed local victims, survivors, to collaborate with him about what needs to happen,” she said. “And I would call for him to do that.” When O’Malley first came to Boston, Webb said she and other survivors put together a document for him containing recommendations for procedures they thought would be best for addressing the abuse. Nonetheless, these rich subjects could yield a dry, procedural story about a team of reporters embarking on a six-month investigation where breakthroughs emerge from legal filings, interviews and library research.

Seeing the journalists figure that out, too, the horror of ‘oh, there are so many,’ was very personal.” Spotlight hits theaters nationwide on November 6. The Diocese of Oakland has yet to publicly name all the priests, both diocesan and religious, who abused children and teens throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

One suggestion from the group, she said, was to make sure that clergy who had been taken out of service were still watched, to prevent further abuse “even without the collar.” “That is the best, quickest and cheapest way he can protect more kids,” she said in the statement. “It’s easy for bishops to claim they have changed, but acting with real openness would prove real change. The fast-paced thriller shows how the Globe’s investigative Spotlight team discovered the church had protected scores of pedophile priests, moving the predatory clergy from parish to parish, and secretly settling with families who complained. The movie dramatizes the experiences of people who tend to be sticklers for accuracy (lawyers, journalists, victims and accused), at a time when other recent films about contemporary people (like “ Steve Jobs” and Mr. In Boston, where the scandal broke wide open, some survivors are anxious about how the movie portrays their story, in part because the film is told from the perspective of the journalists rather than the survivors.

Singer’s earlier screenplay, “The Fifth Estate,” about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks) have been called out for playing with facts to heighten the drama. “I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t scared,” Mr. They’re also worried that the film might force them to re-live their trauma. “There are also a lot of survivors who just don’t remember because it’s buried so deep. In an effort to heal and rebuild trust, the Church knows it will be judged by it actions- not just its words – and the implementation of vigorous polices that serve the entire community. Barber and his team cannot tell the full truth to the Catholics of the East Bay, nor can Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone fully reveal these abuses to Catholics of San Francisco. One would have thought this would have been addressed before now,” he added. “Clearly this is an issue that endures, and one that the church is still grappling with.” “It was heartbreaking to listen to them.

They’re 40 years old and their lives are a total mess because of the abuse that occurred 20 years earlier,” he said. “That was always tough, but I think overall, this story improved us all as reporters. McCarthy (who directed and wrote the funny dramas “Win Win” and “The Station Agent”) could have oversimplified or altered the investigation story. Saviano said he gave the Spotlight team a “crash course in clergy sexual abuse,” which included a list of 13 priests whom he knew had abused children, as well as two books that had been written about clergy abuse some years before. For more information on the Archdiocese’s commitment to pastoral support, healing, protection and prevention, we encourage all to visit our website at O’Malley, a Capuchin friar, gained a reputation for cleaning up dioceses wracked with sex abuse scandals during stints as bishop of Fall River and Palm Beach, Fla.

Any suspected case of abuse should be reported to civil authorities and to the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach (866-244-9603 or 617-746-5985). In Boston, he quickly settled with hundreds of victims, sold the church’s opulent chancery in Brighton to help pay claims, and repeatedly apologized to victims and their families for the church’s transgressions.

More information about the protocols and programs run by the Archdiocese to assure safe environments for children and to address the needs of survivors may be found at There also are several lawyers, including Billy Crudup as high-powered litigator Eric MacLeish and Stanley Tucci as the abrasive Mitchell Garabedian. “Early on I showed the script to some friends of mine who are very good writers and they were like: ‘Can one of those lawyers be a priest? After the second year, he figured they weren’t making the movie. “Dear Phil,” the stranger wrote. “I can’t tell you what an honor it is for me to have the opportunity to portray you in ‘Spotlight.’ …

Singer said. “We got a question at a screening: ‘Did you think about having one of the reporters being more in touch with their faith?’ And, sure, we did,” he said. “But none of the reporters were. If it’s marketed that way as opposed to being a story about people being raped by priests, and that gets people to go see it, well, then our message is still getting out there.” With an outsider’s eye, he tells the paper’s investigative “Spotlight” team to dig harder on priest-abuse leads, despite warnings that going up against the church might not be a smart move in a city with many tight-knit Catholic neighborhoods. “You’ve got a guy coming up to take over a paper in a town that’s sort of notoriously, if not insular, then has its own sort of identity,” said Mr. And I’m still an outsider.” Early on, Baron meets archdiocese leader Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou), who offers friendly if heavy advice (“I find this city flourishes when its great institutions work together”).

Tucci’s attorney character asks Rezendes before agreeing to help. “We had some of those built-in story elements but we didn’t want to put too fine a point on those things,” Mr. McCarthy said. “A lot of what the church does they do passively, but it’s so pervasive that it’s undeniable the amount of pressure they can put on institutions and certainly individuals.

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