I watched the movie Spotlight yesterday. I’m still reeling. What I don’t understand is, why are there no priests in jail? Why isn’t former Cardinal Law in jail? I don’t know how to put it delicately, but when he put priests known to have raped children in positions where they would have contact with children—actually I do remember a term I learned not long ago that puts it more delicately—isn’t he acting in concert? And therefore subject to arrest and prosecution?

The statute of limitations for rape is different from state to state, but it’s 16 years in Boston so they could have prosecuted at least some of those priests when the story first came out. I’m not a legal scholar, so maybe they couldn’t proceed with the incidents that were settled out of court, but according to the film many other victims came forward after the articles came out. What about them? Even now, they can go back to 1999.

Also, if this many priests were being shuffled around, and all over the country, (and the world) other bishops and cardinals had to have been involved. Law doesn’t oversee the entire country. And given the numbers, it had to have gone higher than Law. No one could claim that activity of this magnitude escaped their notice. Investigations continued and are continuing, no?

Further, the church not only hasn’t excommunicated Law … wait a minute, have they excommunicated anyone over this? Googling … one, last year. One. And while Law recently retired, he was given a prestigious appointment in Rome after the scandal broke. They excommunicate people for advocating the ordination of women, but not for raping children?

How can the church talk about healing until all the priests and the people who covered up their crimes have been prosecuted and the victims more truly compensated?

With respect to the mental challenge I have taken I will end with: good work Spotlight team. And that is really an understatement. Think of all the children who would have been harmed if you hadn’t investigated this story.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Spotlight

  1. Which is why we need a strong and free media (I’m looking at you, Sheldon Adelson and the Las Vegas Journal-Review).

    If you have a Netflix account, you should watch Making a Murderer. It’s a ten part documentary and after I finished watching, it made me question everything I thought I knew about our judicial system.

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