Real Life Heroes
Joseph Crowley, a survivor of sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest who went public about his experiences as part of the Boston Globe investigation that served as the basis for the film “Spotlight,” died on Easter Sunday, the Boston Globereported. He was 58, and had long suffered from heart and respiratory ailments.
"I was still like a kid with all this resentment and anger and rage and self pity, and it just owned me. And through a series of things, hard work, and people who were there for me in so many areas, so many ways, I learned how to be a survivor."
Phil Saviano is a survivor and New England SNAP leader. Stories like Saviano's are what made up the premise of the movie Spotlight. Saviano's and SNAP work to bring these stories to the light have been crucial in bringing the clergymen responsible for this abuse to the light. Saviano was portrayed by actor Neal Huff in the movie and he plays a integral part in starting the conversation about this abuse by the Boston area priests.
David Clohessy has been the national director and spokesman for SNAP since 1991.
Clohessy is consistently quoted by news organizations covering the sex abuse scandal, including being on the cover of the New York Times, and he has appeared on numerous television shows, including Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Phil Donahue Show, and 60 Minutes.
In 1988, Barbara Blaine founded the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Barbara and SNAP were a major part in speaking out against the clergy abuse that was happening during the 2002-03 Spotlight team’s investigation of the archdiocese of Boston.
She created SNAP to help empower survivors to tell their stories publicly. Blaine has been a catalyst in lifting the climate of secrecy that enables clergy predators to thrive.
Tom Doyle is a Dominican priest. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and five separate master's degrees. Tom served at the Vatican Embassy between 1981 and 1986 and while there he became directly involved with the clergy sex abuse case of former Fr. Gilbert Gauthe that received national publicity. After leaving the embassy he joined the U.S Air Force and served as a chaplain for almost 19 years.
Tom worked with Ray Mouton and the late Fr. Michael Peterson, M.D., to compose the report on the problem of sexual abuse by clergy that served as the notice to the Vatican and to the U.S. bishops about the grave nature of the sexual abuse by clergy. He has served as an expert witness and consultant in criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S., in Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands and Israel. He has also done expert and consultant work with grand juries in the U.S., with the three investigative commissions in Ireland and with the Cornwall Commission in Canada. He has spoken before the State legislatures of several States and the District of Columbia in favor of statutory reform.
Walter Robinson was the lead editor of the Boston Globe's Spotlight investigative journalism team. With his guidance the team was able to uncover many different instances of sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese.
The Spotlight team went on to win a Pulitzer prize for their work. In the Spotlight film Robinson is portrayed by Michael Keaton.
Beginning with the diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana in the 1980s, journalist Jason Berry has continued to report and investigate sex abuse and cover-up in the Catholic church.
He wrote in the National Catholic Reporter about how impactful this reporting was for him and how important it is that the press and others speak up about abuse.
A.W. Richard Sipe is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor who earlier spent 18 years as a Benedictine monk and priest. He was trained specifically to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic Priests. In the process of training and therapy, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study of the celibate/sexual behavior of that population. His study, published in 1990, is now considered a classic.
Sipe is known internationally and has participated in 12 documentaries on celibacy and priest sexual abuse aired by HBO, BBC, and other networks in the United States, United Kingdom, and France. He has been widely interviewed by media including CNN, ABC, NBC, CNBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, People magazine, Newsweek and USA Today.
Mitchell Garabedian represented more than 130 clients during this time where lawsuits were being brought upon the catholic church for sexual abuse. Garabedian was the lawyer that started the case against former priest John J. Geoghan.
He eventually would go on to represent 118 alleged victims of Geoghan, and he and his firm have obtained millions of dollars in other settlement cases for survivors against the archdiocese of Boston.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.