The Hollywood industry newspaper Variety is reporting that a director has been assigned to command a movie about the Boston Globe's relentless reporting in 2002 about the Catholic Church abuse scandals.
Yet again we see that the media is always looking for another angle to rehash decades-old sex abuse in the Catholic Church. According to Variety:
"Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, [Director Tom] McCarthy has been working in secret for more than a year on the project that chronicles the worldwide scandal …
"Producers have secured life rights of the Globe reporters responsible, including Spotlight Team members Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll, Spotlight Team editor Walter 'Robby' Robinson, special projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr. and Globe editor Marty Baron."
The proposed film is described as being in the vein of the 1976 hit film All the President's Men, which was about the efforts of the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to investigate the alleged Watergate scandal.
However, if the film seeks to portray the Globe as somehow being ignorant up until 2002 to the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in the Boston area, the filmmakers will have some explaining to do. For example:
- In 1992 alone, the Globe published no less than 55 articles about James Porter, a notorious pedophile from the Diocese of Fall River who left the priesthood in 1971 and was formally laicized in 1974. (By the way, in a 1993 Globe article, a leading Boston attorney actually praised the archdiocese for its response to abuse claims.)
- Throughout the 1990s, the Globe published dozens of articles, including several on the front page, about claims of abuse and lawsuits involving the notorious pedophile John Geoghan.
- In 1997, when Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law announced a series of "healing Masses" for victims of clergy abuse, local television covered the announcement and the Globe reported the story on its front page.
- When the Church announced that it had laicized Geoghan in 1998, it was not only a front-page story in the Globe, but it was also the lead story on a number of local television evening newscasts.
- In 1999, the Globe reported that Geoghan's criminal abuse had prompted over five dozen civil lawsuits. (By November 2001, the number had grown to 86.) The Globe also covered Geoghan's high-profile criminal trial that year.
In other words, the Globe was hardly a stranger to the entire issue before January 6, 2002, the day the paper began its string of 969 articles just in 2002 about Catholic Church sex abuse.
Giving credit where credit is due
Meanwhile, while the Boston Globe has received endless accolades and recognition for its 2002 reporting, a lot of people have been unaware that it was the Boston Phoenix – the city's "alternative" arts and entertainment weekly (like the NYC's The Village Voice) – that was all over the story nearly a year earlier.
Beginning on March 23, 2001, the Phoenix's Kristen Lombardi initiated a series of devastating stories about Church abuse cases in Boston. (Her first piece – about the notorious John Geoghan – ran nearly 6,700 words. The Globe later scored its big break in November of 2001 when the paper won the release of Boston Church documents, which led to the scope of its 2002 reporting.)
But don't expect the Globe to give the Phoenix much credit.
As for the proposed film, stay tuned. Variety reports that the project "is being developed inhouse and has not yet been exposed to studios or financiers. While there are no actors currently attached to the pic, at least one A-list star has expressed interest in the material."