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June 14, 2016

New York Law Journal

By: Joel Cohen, James L. Bernard

Like all good movies about an important and controversial event, the story told in the movie “Spotlight," about the role of the Boston Globe in uncovering the breadth of the clergy scandal that impacted the Boston diocese, was no doubt some combination of truth and dramatization. One startling and poignant scene is worth discussing from an ethics point of view. Once the Globe’s investigative team was on to this devastating story which suggested that the priest abuse scandal may have involved up to 70 priests in Boston, the Globe’s Spotlight team editor, Robby Robinson, one of the heroes in the drama, went directly to the home of attorney “Jim Sullivan” who represented the diocese and had skillfully managed to keep settlements, and payouts to victims, under seal. Robinson, as would any good gumshoe, wanted to pry the clandestine open for the world to see, and maybe in doing so bring closure to the abuse.

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