“Spotlight” movie helps abuse victims come forward

The Morning Call

Chuck Biedka
Tribune Content Agency

A Hollywood movie helped motivate a former Lower Burrell man to come forward with allegations he was sexually assaulted by a priest in the 1990s.

Former priest John Thomas Sweeney is accused of abusing a 10-year-old boy sent to him for misbehavior at St. Margaret Mary Church’s school in Lower Burrell, outside Pittsburgh, during the 1991-92 academic year.

And that alleged victim isn’t alone in being motivated by “Spotlight,” according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP.

“We don’t know exactly how many, but we know it has caused people to come forward, sometimes after years,” said Judy Jones, SNAP’s Midwest regional leader. “It takes a lot of courage for them to come forward,” she said.

The 2015 Oscar-winning film “Spotlight” tells the story of the Boston Globe’s investigation about alleged priest sexual abuse and cover-ups in Boston.

Greensburg diocese Communications Director Jerry Zufelt said there was no such cover-up here.

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