Helene Solomon on Spotlight
November 5, 2015
November 5, 2015
Like many of us in Boston and around the world, I can’t wait to see Spotlight, opening in select theaters this Friday. The movie is based on the true story of The Boston Globe’s team of investigative journalists who reported on rampant child molestation within the Archdiocese of Boston and the cover-up of that abuse by Catholic leaders.
It has been 13 years since I was professionally involved in one aspect of the huge and multi-layered story. It is perhaps a sidebar to the main story, but one that would have never been told had it not been for the dogged determination and curiosity of Walter Robinson and his team at The Boston Globe, particularly Sacha Pfeiffer and Michael Rezendes. While many clients, many stories and many issues have passed in the years since 2002, I will never forget the months of work to help clear the name of one good priest.
It started with an early morning phone call from one of the accused priest’s dear friends. Saying she was referred to me, she wondered if I could help her friend – a high-ranking member of the Boston diocese who stood wrongly accused.
Although it had been nearly six months since the blockbuster story broke, the atmosphere was still highly charged and accused clergy members were deemed guilty until proven innocent. With great skepticism, I asked her to bring her friend to our office that morning so I could meet him, look him in the eye and form my own opinion as to innocence or guilt. Our firm always takes moral and ethical stock of any prospective client. We have been beyond fortunate to work with some outstanding people who find themselves in difficult circumstances. But this would be different and we knew it.
When we met with our potential client, we heard a remarkable story about a good man and high-ranking church leader, accused by a former student of doing something inappropriate many years before, when he was a parish priest. As a result of the Spotlight team lifting the curtain on the church’s decades-long cover-up, victims and alleged victims went straight to the church to make their case. Now in fairness, most if not nearly all of the accusations were sadly found to be true. What were the odds this story would be the one they got wrong?
After months of investigative reporting and sourcing by Robinson and his team, combined with our team’s attorneys, background research and outreach, our priest made the case successfully and was eventually reinstated. The Boston Globe in this instance helped to save one man’s life—he himself also a victim of the archdiocese’s misdeeds.
I have always considered it a privilege to help good people in trouble. Without the Spotlight team’s balanced reporting, this would have never been possible. Congratulations to these professionals for having their story told on the silver screen.