Boston Phoenix Shuts Down; a Tribute to the Alt-weekly That Broke Open the Catholic Church Sex-abuse Scandal

By Gustavo Arellano
Orange County Weekly
March 15, 2013

Here at OC's afflict-er of the comfortable, we rarely give a damn about anything that happens outside of the county because the rest of the country can pound sand. But I do want to take just this post to acknowledge a pioneer in pedo-priest profiles: the Boston Phoenix, which announced yesterday that it was shutting down next week after 47 years.

I'll be honest: I rarely read the Phoenix, given that I really don't care for Boston (the Celtics will do that to you, although Bobby Orr was GANGSTA). But I did revere them for their bravery more than a decade ago of breaking open the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal long before its rival, the Boston Globe, made it into a national story.

Specifically, it was reporter Kristen Lombardi (who served a stint at our sister paper, the Village Voice) who did the stories no one else wanted to do at the time. Her 2001 story on Boston-area monster John Geoghan beat the Globe's story on the pedo-priest by nearly a year. She would continue to monitor the situation vigorously until moving on to the Voice.

Has the national media ever given Lombardi's and the Phoenix's work any credit? No. Instead, all the accolades went to the Globe--even a decade later, Phoenix staffers have to beg for even a scrap of attention, which is a damn shame.

(On that note, all the recent revelations of Cardinal Roger Mahony's pedo-priests ways are old news; the long-shuttered New Times Los Angeles had everyone beat by a decade)

Thankfully, the only people who matter on the history of the sex-abuse scandal, the amazing Bishop Accountability website, knows of the Phoenix's influence and praises them effusively. They wrote that the paper "[is] one of many small and alternative newspapers that have played a leading role in coverage of the Catholic crisis" and has an archive of their work, work that'll be gone from the Phoenix's website next week.

Fare thee well, Phoenix. May your pedo-priest work continue to inspire young reporters to the scandal the way it did for me. Heckuva job, Brownie!








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