Clergy victims doubt “Spotlight” Oscar win will bring change
Victims of clergy sexual abuse are reveling in the Oscar won by “Spotlight” — the story of The Boston Globe’s investigation into the scandal — but say they don’t hold out much hope that the elevated status from the film’s Best Picture award will prompt changes at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic church.
“Spotlight,” starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, covers the Globe’s work to uncover how dozens of priests in the Archdiocese of Boston had molested and raped children for decades while church higher-ups covered it up and shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish.
The film was released in November to accolades from victims who said it gave them a sense of validation after years of struggling in silence. Even Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley — appointed to replace Cardinal Bernard Law after he resigned in disgrace — called “Spotlight” a “very powerful and important film.”
But victims say they have little hope that the film’s new status as an Oscar winner will lead to some of the things they’ve called for over the years, including complete transparency by the church and the criminal prosecution of church leaders who knew about the abuse but didn’t report the perpetrators to police.
“I don’t think the Vatican or the archdiocese will necessarily do more,” said Robert Costello, 54, who was sexually abused by a Boston priest from the late 1960s through 1976.
“I think what (the film) is going to do is educate the general public as to what their response or lack of response has been,” said Costello, who agreed to a civil settlement with the archdiocese.
The Globe series was followed by revelations of sex abuse in dioceses around the world. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2003. (Source: AP)