Class Notes 10/17

We began class by immediately going to http://www.snapnetwork.org/stories, creating an account, and signing in. This is a website, or the network, of those who survived abuse by priests.

In 2003, the Boston Globe won the Pulitzer Prize.

In the time period from Jan. 6, 2002 to Dec. 14, 2002, the Boston Globe composed a total of 23 stories. Each story focused on some aspect of abuse by priests.

Matt Carroll, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Michael Rezendes were among the reporters of these 23 stories.

Walter V. Robinson was the editor. Lastly, Rezendez, was the writer.

Since the Mid-1990’s, more than 130 people, some as young as four years old,  have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priests abused them.

How did they get the story? In 1993, an editor called Walter Robinson a told him about 20 pedophile priests. Since the stories were released in 2002, obviously Robinson didn’t immediately follow up on the information. It wasn’t until a new editor, Marty Baron, joined to the Boston Globe. He is a strong supporter and follower of the Jewish faith and has strong reporting instincts.

-More info about story-

Editor – Martin Baron

Lawyer: Mitchel Garabedian (He represents the victims after multiple attempts from the church to get him disbarred). (He also had a relationship with the reporter that built over time).

It is a story of the vision of the an outsider. It is also a story of betrayal of the public trust.

-Movie Time-

Spotlight

It began with a scene from 1976.

William Robertson eventually met with Martin Baron. This was at dinner. We can learn a lot about Baron in the scene. He reads, is trying to get familiar with his new city (Boston), and is “not much of a baseball guy.”

What this says to me is that he is a focused, independent, intelligent and very serious individual.

“Well, I’d assume. I’m more focused on making this paper essential to it’s readers” – Baron in response to Robertson asking if he expects layoffs and job cuts.

Robertson seemed agitated, “I like the paper as it is”.

The next scene was people at work. They all are extremely interested in Baron. They want to know what he’s like and what to expect.

Baron is super interested in this priest case. Everyone else thinks he’s crazy. They are all questioning his request of attempting to receive the documents from the church. This would require them taking the church to court.

At this point, I am very interested in this movie.

We now enter the scene where a member of the globe first meets Garabedian. Earlier in the movie, they mentioned that Garabedian was a “character”. And well, the was foreshadowing.

In his office, as Rezendez is waiting, there is tons of screaming. This is showing that he is in fact a character and reckless.

Rezendez is very persuading.

“I’ve already gave the story to the Phoenix,” says Garabedian.

“That’s the reason I haven’t seen it. No one reads the Phoenix anymore. They’re broke.” replied Rezendez.

“When I was 11 I was preyed upon by father _____, not prayed for, preyed upon.” This was a quote from a victim. Very grasping.

“How do you say no to God. The priest robs you of your faith”

“When you grow older, you try the pills, bottles, and belts. If that doesn’t work, you jump off a bridge. That’s why they call us survivors.”

These statements made the movie a whole lot more interesting, for the viewer and the story itself.

The next batch of victim statements were just as bad. Story after story, detail after detail, it was both sad and disgusting.

Each victim was clearly exploited by the priests. They were children, they used faith, and many other tactics. One victim knew he was gay at the time, and the priest made him feel accepted. Another would buy ice cream for the child.

The movie has started heating up.

Supposedly, the Globe has 13 priests that molest kids. Then eventually, they find out that number may be too low. They discover that roughly 6% of priests molest kids. There are 1,500 priests in Boston… which means 90, more or less, molest or have molested kids.

This is when the movie got intense. The reporters now understand how big this case is and what they are getting into to. They are about to enter a war zone that will have ripples nationally.

They then determine an actual number. 87. This is insane.

To make this even more insane, it turns out lawyers and victims sent info, evidence, and a list of names to the Globe five years ago, but it got buried. So clearly someone on the inside is hiding something.

Baron had a meeting that then shocked everyone. They had 50 priests they could go after but Baron said no. Everyone was shocked and asking why. He claimed they need to go after the industry, the church, and how the church manipulated the courts and protected the priests knowing they committed these acts. Ultimately, they are going after the actual church, not individual priests. This is important because, well, the church is massive and that, as mentioned earlier, them entering a massive war zone.

Then the story gets even crazier….

A reporter went to the house of priest that allegedly molested severe boys. She went up to his door and asked if “he raped several boys” and the retired priests surprisingly said “Well, yes I fooled around with them, but I never got any pleasure.”

Wow, this is crazy. The movie just got even more crazy.

“I want to make it clear, I didn’t rape anyone.” said the Priest.

“Why do you say that?” replied the Reporter.

“Because I was raped,” concluded the Priest.

Perhaps the most disturbing part was how normal the priest acted. He seemed as if molesting boys was totally normal, as long as he didn’t receive any pleasure. This was the first big shovel-hack in a major excavation, metaphorically.

It also turns out that the church removed legal documents from the courthouse.

As the movie goes on, it becomes apparent that this case is taking a toll on the Globe reporters both physically and mentally. One stopped going to church because she would get so angry, another freaked out on the rest of the group claiming “its kid guys its kids! it could have been any of us!”

I can understand where they are coming from and would react similarly.

After a long and hard battle between what’s legal, what’s important, and what’s ethical; the story was published.

The very next day. tons of calls came in, all victims. The Globe just uncovered one of the biggest church secrets in the nation. Insane.

 

 

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