The first trailer for “Spotlight,” the film starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams chronicling The Boston Globe’s investigation of child sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, was released Wednesday.
Reporting by the Globe’s Spotlight team eventually led to the resignation of the once-powerful Cardinal Bernard Law, former archbishop of Boston. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for its coverage.
A decade earlier, when the paper reported on abuse allegations against the Rev. James R. Porter — accused of molesting up to 100 children in the 1960s — Law famously condemned the paper.
“St. Paul spoke of the immeasurable power at work in those who believe. . . . We call down God’s power on our business leaders, and political leaders and community leaders. By all means we call down God’s power on the media, particularly the Globe,” Law said in 1992.
The Globe’s reporting in the early 2000s revealed that rather than report priests accused of sexual assault to police, the Catholic hierarchy in Boston shuffled offenders from parish to parish, and paid settlements to victims with the requirement that they stay silent. That pattern of abuse and cover-up was eventually discovered to be the norm in several American dioceses and in other places around the world.
Law, who now lives in Rome, was never charged with criminal misconduct, and remains the highest-ranking Church authority to resign over the scandal. In recent years, the Vatican has adopted tougher standards for bishops. One of the chief proponents of such measures has been Law’s successor in Boston and a top advisor to Pope Francis, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.
A little more than a decade after uncovering the sex abuse scandals, the group that owns the newspaper, Boston Globe Media Partners, launched Crux, a website devoted to covering the Catholic Church.
The movie, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, followed by a showing at the Toronto Film Festival, hits a limited number of theaters Nov. 6, followed by a wider release Nov. 20. Directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy, the film also features Brian d’Arcy James, John Slattery, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci.