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In 2002, the prevalent pattern of sexual abuse inside the Catholic church which was kept private for so long was just starting to come to light. A major part of this story occurred in Boston. That year, the Boston Globe started investigating and posting reports with regards to accusations against priests in the area. The reporting was so good at bringing the truth to light that five priests, John Geoghan, John Hanlon, Paul Shanley, Robert V. Gale and Jesuit priest James Talbot, were found guilty and shipped to prison.
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The details concerning these people were alarming enough. Geoghan, by way of example, was consistently assigned to posts in numerous areas in the Archdiocese of Boston which could have involved getting together with kids, even after several episodes by which families said they found him molesting their sons. He was sent to treatment for pedophilia, and later on directed by a cardinal to go through counseling. Several folks the victims’ families say church authorities wanted them to continue to keep silent concerning the abuse.
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These details, while scary, are similar to others that came to the surface in the early 2000s, in that they reveal a pattern of Catholic higher-ups being aware of sexual abuse and failing to take appropriate measures to safeguard kids.
In the wake of the controversy, the archdiocese of Boston found themselves having to pay roughly $100 million in damages to victims, and then the Archbishop of the diocese, Cardinal Law, resigned. This individual had been been critical in masking accusations and sheltering predator priests by shuffling them from job to job. The church accepted his resignation, but he was not defrocked or blacklisted from working; in reality, he acquired top assignments in Rome, and Pope Francis presided at his 2017 funeral service.
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Helping to make this information public demanded rigorous reporting by a devoted group as the specifics had been so repeatedly covered up by top church administrators, persons in law enforcement as well as others who prioritized protecting the church from shame.
After the primary Boston Globe reporting, an increasing number of claims came forth. The Globe received a a Pulitzer for its work, and the events also inspired the Oscar-winning film Spotlight.
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The incidents in Boston have cracked a Pandora’s Box of sex abuse revelations throughout the world, as it is now crystal clear how widespread the reality of Catholic child sex abuse actually is. These individuals influenced reforms in dioceses throughout the country, a few of which instituted brand-new procedures to protect children.
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