The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie

A look at The Boston Globe's coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the movie "Spotlight," which is based on the stories and the reporters behind the investigation.

The stories that started it all

Former priest John J. Geoghan leaving his family home in Scituate in November.

Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Jan. 6, 2002 | Part 1 of 2

Church allowed abuse by priest for years

Why did it take a succession of three cardinals and many bishops 34 years to place children out of John J. Geoghan’s reach?

Jan. 7, 2002 | Part 2 of 2

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/13/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/St.%20Julia's%20%20Church.jpg Geoghan preferred preying on poorer children

Psychiatric documents offer added insights into the Rev. John J. Geoghan’s troubled mind and the motivations behind his aberrant actions.

Jan. 31, 2002

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/02/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/cardinallaw2.jpg Scores of priests involved in sex abuse cases

Under an extraordinary cloak of secrecy, the Archdiocese of Boston in the last 10 years has quietly settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests.

More coverage below

About the movie

Superb ‘Spotlight’ doesn’t turn journalists into heroes

It just lets them do their jobs, as tedious and critical as those are, with a realism that grips an audience almost in spite of itself. By Ty Burr

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/30/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/spotlight.jpg How the ‘Spotlight’ movie got made

The movie’s producers wanted to make a film, not about the church scandal itself, but about the journalists who told the story.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/28/BostonGlobe.com/Arts/Images/1200_spotlight_in_toronto[1]-4107.jpg The real people behind the ‘Spotlight’ characters

Here’s a list of the Globe staff members that appear in the movie, and the actors and actresses who play them.

movies

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/10/30/BostonGlobe.com/Lifestyle/Images/Spotlight14.jpg Globe reporters tell their ‘Spotlight’ stories

A film based on the Globe’s investigation of sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese proves sobering and surreal for Globe team.

More Spotlight reports and Globe investigations

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/14/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/spotlight150x150-160.jpg

The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in 2002 has spawned the movie “Spotlight.” Go inside previous reports from the Globe’s Spotlight team.

Latest Spotlight Report

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/26/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/clash1.jpg Clash in the Name of Care

Should a surgeon run two operations at once? It is the root question in a battle pitting a star surgeon against MGH, and the conflict has put careers and reputations at risk.

Database of accused clergy in Boston Archdiocese

At least 271 clergy have been publicly accused of child sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, according to a Globe review.

Movie details

Release date: Nov. 6, 2015

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

>> More details from IMDB

The Spotlight report the movie is based on

The Globe's Spotlight team exposed the sex abuse scandal in 2002. Read select coverage below.

 

Jan. 6, 2002 | Part 1 of 2

Church allowed abuse by priest for years

Former priest John J. Geoghan leaving his family home in Scituate in November.

Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Why did it take a succession of three cardinals and many bishops 34 years to place children out of John J. Geoghan’s reach?

Jan. 7, 2002 | Part 2 of 2

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/13/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/St.%20Julia's%20%20Church.jpg Geoghan preferred preying on poorer children

Psychiatric documents offer added insights into the Rev. John J. Geoghan’s troubled mind and the motivations behind his aberrant actions.

Cardinal Bernard Law says he “cannot estimate” how many priests have molested children.

Jan. 31, 2002

Scores of priests involved in sex abuse cases

Under an extraordinary cloak of secrecy, the Archdiocese of Boston in the last 10 years has quietly settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests.

Feb. 24, 2002

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/01/02/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/Robert%20Bullock%201--90x90.jpg Church cloaked in culture of silence

Catholic priests were committing crimes so unspeakable that the Archdiocese of Boston went to extraordinary - and expensive - lengths to cover up the scandal.

Thomas V. Daily is a former aide to Cardinal Law.

March 14, 2002

Ex-Mass. bishop accused of ignoring abuse in NYC

The Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily is accused of brushing aside sexual abuse allegations.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly at a news conference March 1. From left are District Attorneys Daniel Conley, Kevin Burke, Timothy Cruz, William Keating, and Martha Coakley, and Geline Williams, head of the Mass. District Attorneys Association

May 12, 2002

Scandal erodes traditional deference to church

Prosecutors, judges, and politicians who once looked the other way when it came to the church’s dirty laundry are now holding church leaders to a higher standard.

Aug. 20, 2002

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/13/BostonGlobe.com/Special/Images/pgone0820B--90x90.jpg Ariz. abuse case names bishop, 2 priests

Documents show that the three had sex during the late 1970s and early 1980s with a Tucson teenager who was later given a chancery job to ensure his silence.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law has to approve any bankruptcy legal steps by the archdiocese.

Dec. 1, 2002

Archdiocese weighs bankruptcy filing

The Archdiocese of Boston prepared to take the extraordinary step of filing for bankruptcy, as hopes faded for a settlement with alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

From left, Phil de Albuquerque of Speak Truth to Power; Rodney Ford, father of an alleged abuse victim; and David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group addressed the media yesterday in Boston during the release of documents at a Boston law firm.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Dec. 4, 2002

More clergy abuse, secrecy cases

The Archdiocese of Boston for years dealt in secret with allegations against rogue priests, church records show.

Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Bernard F. Law in a private audience at the Vatican. The pope made no public comment.

VATICAN TELEVISION IMAGE VIA AFP

Dec. 14, 2002

A church seeks healing

Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of longtime Roman Catholic archbishop Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

Sponsored by Rockland Trust

Pass it on: Succession plans crucial for family businesses

Sooner is better than later when planning who will take over the family business. Learn what it takes to make this necessary step a success.

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.

Contact us

The Spotlight Team would like to hear from readers with tips.

Tipline: 617-929-7482

E-mail: spotlight@globe.com.

Twitter: @GlobeSpotlight

E-mail the Spotlight team securely

Our PGP key is available on the Ubuntu keyserver. The fingerprint is:

BD8E BE22 8F75 7464 59B5 1224 79B9 111E C0F1 5818

Send by USPS mail

Spotlight Team

135 Morrissey Boulevard

P.O. Box 55819

Boston, MA 02205-5819

Spotlight archives

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/10/30/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/spotlight-bcom.jpg Abuse in the Catholic Church

Complete coverage of the Globe’s Spotlight report on the clergy sex abuse scandal from 2002. (Boston.com)