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Spotlight

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The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

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Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
  • The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
  • When the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.
  • In existence since the 1970s, Spotlight is the investigative reporting unit of the Boston Globe. They can spend months or years on a single story, which they choose amongst themselves. As such, they are somewhat autonomous from the rest of the newspaper, only needing to report to their superior. As a rule, they are not to discuss their work with anyone else, whether it be other staff, friends and or family. In 2001, the four person team consisted of its editor Walter Robinson – Robby to his friends – and his team of three investigative journalists, Michael RezendesSacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll. Robby reports to the assistant managing editor, Ben Bradlee Jr.. Upon his arrival from his most recent position in Florida, Marty Baron, the newly appointed editor-in-chief. Mr. Baron requests Spotlight to place their current project on hold and dig deeper into a recent story written by fellow Globe reporter and columnist Eileen McNamara, regarding allegations against a Catholic priest of sexual abuse of a minor and what appears to be the subsequent cover-up by the head of the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law. They are at first hesitant to work on the story, seeing Baron as an outsider to Boston, he who doesn’t understand what is important to locals. Baron’s outsider status includes not being born and raised there, and not being Catholic (he being the Globe’s first Jewish editor-in-chief). Spotlights first task is to see if they can get some court documents on the case unsealed, which means they will need a court order. The Church and its parishioners could falsely interpret this as The Globe suing the Catholic church. This could have major, negative consequences for The Globe due to the fact that a majority of their subscribers are Catholic. Robby and his team begin by speaking to lawyers who have or are working on alleged sexual abuse cases perpetrated by Catholic priests in and immediately surrounding Boston (those lawyers said including Eric MacLeish and Mitchell Garabedian), known victims (such as Phil Saviano, the head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)) and insiders in the Catholic church. Through this investigation, they get wind that the problem is not contained to a couple of priests and few victims, in essence changing the focus from the priest(s) to the systemic problem of the Archdiocese not only covering up the abuse but in reality doing nothing to stop it and thus condoning it. Their goal is not only the end product of an important story, but making sure that the other major local newspapers, such as the Boston Herald, do not beat them to the scant outline of the story in the public consciousness which the Catholic church could easily quash. Through it all, they may come to some unpleasant realizations that not only the Archdiocese and the Catholic church in general are to blame for what happened.

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