William F. McMurry on Spotlight and ties to Louisville

The Courier-Journal

William F. McMurry December 29, 2015

Aptly named Spotlight, the recently released film focuses on the Boston Globe’s investigation of the decade’s old conspiracy to protect pedophile priests perpetrated by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Those of us who watched a similar story unfold here in Louisville will find the events depicted in this riveting film, all too familiar.

Spotlight takes its name from the newspaper’s elite group of investigative reporters whose apparent autonomy allowed them to pick and choose where the Globe would focus its investigative resources. Enter the Globe’s newly hired editor in chief, Martin Baron. In the film, Baron takes his lead from a Globe op-ed piece written by Eileen McNamara that questioned the large number of sexual abuse lawsuits, all against a single priest.

As the film progresses it becomes increasingly clear that it is Baron’s leadership that motivates what would become a historical investigation, an investigation that would lead to the revelation that the Boston Archdiocese knowingly and willfully shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish within the Boston Archdiocese without warning the parishioners of the imminent threat to their children.

The film also “spotlights” Mitchell Garabedian, an eccentric attorney, who in July 2001 represented 80 adults against the Boston Archdiocese, each claiming he or she was sexually abused as a child. There are problems with Garabedian’s lawsuits, as the legal time for filing them may have expired, resulting in little to be gained for the victims.

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