Film reflects our own dark past

The Courier

By Melissa Cunningham
Jan. 30, 2016

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

The words of clergy sexual abuse victims attorney, Mitch Garabedian, in the film Spotlight are as harrowing as they are true to Ballarat.

The film details a real-life Pulitzer winning investigation by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, a group of five investigative journalists, who uncovered widespread sexual abuse of children by scores of the district’s clergy in 2002.

In a gut-wrenchingly familiar pattern, clergy in Boston abuse children for decades but rather than report priests accused of sexual assault to police, the Catholic hierarchy in Boston shuffled offenders from parish to parish and paid victims for their silence.

And, just like in Ballarat the culture of secrecy in Boston spanned further than the clergy, trickling down into the police force who assisted the Catholic Church to hide the abuse.

Documents detailing the abuse were destroyed or hidden and parishioners were pressured into silence by senior clergy.

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