Spotlight’s on You: The Story of Pedophilia in the Catholic Church

     The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a  makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop?

     Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. 

     The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. 

     Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.