Tag: Spotlight

Movie Sexual Abuse Horowitz Law

Valuable Films on Child Sexual Abuse & Cover-ups

The more we learn about abuse, the better we’ll be able to stop it.

But relax, we’re not going to recommend that you read a book on the subject.  From first-hand knowledge, we know that can be hard. The topic is grim and reading detailed descriptions of what depraved adults do to children spelled out in black and white is almost more anyone can bear.

We at Horowitz Law recommend another way to educate yourself – films.

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know we’re big fans of the movie Spotlight, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup and Len Cariou (as Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law).

In some ways, this award-winning film (Academy Award for Best Picture, 2016) is less about predators and victims and more about the dogged journalists whose investigations brought world-wide attention to crimes and corruption enabled by the Catholic hierarchy.


But Spotlight is far from the only documentary on this crisis. Among them:

Twist of Faith

This documentary focuses on Toledo firefighter Tony Combs who buys his first home for his young family, only to find out that one of his neighbors is Dennis L. Gray, the now-defrocked priest who molested him.



It’s available on Hulu and Pluto TV.


Mea Maxima Culpa

Directed by Alex Gibney, this film details the first known protest against clerical sex abuse in the US by four brave deaf survivors – Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn and Arthur Budzinski – and features the voices of actors Jamey Sheridan, Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke and John Slattery, who provide the vocal translation of the deaf interviewees.

It exposes Fr. Lawrence Murphy, the priest who abused them during the mid-1960s at St. John’s School for the Deaf.in Wisconsin. The movie won three primetime Emmy awards.

Gibney’s works as director include Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (winner of three Emmys in 2015) and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (once New York’s governor before being brought down by a sex scandal).

Mea Maxima Culpa is available on HBO and Amazon.


—Deliver Us From Evil

In this powerful movie, a repeat offender talks openly of abusing more than 20 kids as he shuffled through northern California (and eventually to Ireland and Portugal).


The film features whistleblower and expert witness Fr. Tom Doyle, psychologist Dr. Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, Los Angeles deputy district attorney Bill Hodgman, former Governor Frank Keating, LA Cardinal Roger Mahony and one of the world’s most well-known serial predators, Fr. Oliver “Ollie” O’Grady.




It can be viewed for free using the app “Tubi.”


For a broader look at abuse and, believe it or not, a sometimes hilarious look at how a controversial comic dealt with it in Call Me Lucky.


Bobcat Goldthwait’s award-winning documentary “is the inspiring, triumphant and wickedly funny portrait of one of comedy’s most enigmatic and important figures: Barry Crimmins, a beer-swilling, politically outspoken and whip-smart comic.” He long suppressed horrific childhood sexual abuse by a babysitter.


The Boston Globe calls it “an incredible story of transformation from a rage-fueled funnyman into an acclaimed proponent of justice who personified the healing power of comedy.”


Interviews in the film include comedians David Cross, Margaret Cho, Patton Oswalt, Steven Wright, Billy Bragg, and activist Cindy Sheehan.

It’s available on Vudu TV and Amazon.

On this blog, we also recently plugged an expose about child sex crimes at a public high school.


And there are more abuse documentaries in the works.

Just recently, we tweeted about an upcoming film called A Peloton of One, which mentions Allentown Pennsylvania predator priest Fr. James F. Gaffney.


According to its producers, the film follows the journey of survivor Dave Ohlmuller as he cycles alone from Chicago, IL, to Montclair, NJ on his bike “to bring awareness of and to inspire action against” archaic, predatory-friendly statute of limitations laws “that serve to silence the victimized and empower the predators.”


Finally, actor George Clooney is working on a documentary on the Ohio State wrestling abuse scandal. In it, the question of whether US Congressman Jim Jordan helped an abusive trainer, Dr. Richard Strauss, keep hundreds of child sex crimes hidden


We find that in these films, we learn more about abuse and at the same time, see just how resilient and resourceful courageous survivors so often are.

Please spread the word to others who care about protecting the vulnerable and healing the wounded.

spotlight the movie horowitz law

Five years ago, “Spotlight” rocked film audiences

Five years ago, “Spotlight” rocked film audiences

And it’s worth watching a second (or 3rd, 4th) time!

This is the five year anniversary of the release of an incredible film, Spotlight.

We agree with one of the public relations professionals who works with Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley. When the film came out, he said the archdiocese “would not discourage people from seeing it” and that viewing it “should be an individual choice.”


Yes, it’s your choice of course. And we hope you choose to see it (or see it again). It’s a powerful yet also entertaining reminder of how deceptive and powerful church officials have been (and largely still are) while also being an uplifting reminder of the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said “No lie lives forever.”

It’s great film.

Don’t just take our word for it. Look at these facts and figures about Spotlight from Wikipedia:

–The website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 97% based on 357 reviews, with an average rating of 8.83/10.

–The website’s critical consensus reads, “Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects.”

On Metacritic, the film has a score of 93 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating “universal acclaim.”

It has received over 100 industry and critics awards and nominations.

–It garnered three Golden Globe Award nominations.

–It received six Academy Award nominations.

–It was listed on over 120 critics’ and publications’ top ten lists.

–It was voted the 88th greatest film since 2000 in an international critics’ poll conducted by BBC.

Kudos to director Tom McCarthy, writer Josh Singer and actors Mark RuffaloMichael KeatonRachel McAdamsJohn Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy JamesLiev Schreiber, Neal Huff and Billy Crudup.

And even more kudos to the smart, hard-working Boston Globe writers and editors, including Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Ben Bradlee, Jr., Steve Kurkjian and Kevin Cullen.

Finally, for years and years before Spotlight was even conceived, Phil Saviano was listening attentively to abuse victims and their loved ones. He was quietly compiling media reports on child molesting clerics and lawsuits against them. And when Spotlight reporters called him, he overwhelmed them with names and information he’d painstakingly compiled and kept.

Without Phil, the Globe’s Pulitzer-winning investigation might have never been possible. Congrats and thanks to Phil!