Spotlight (2015) Movie Analysis

This movie is about a team of reporters from the Boston Globe and their investigation into allegations of

sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. The movie describes an investigative process that

started with investigating one priest, Father John Geoghan, accused of molesting more than 80 boys,

and led to the realization that decades of abuse by over 80 priests had occurred and that senior

members of the Church were involved in a cover-up.

Answer the questions below, referring to lectures, as well as, other readings.

1. Discuss grooming techniques described by victims. Describe scenes in which victims refer to the

pornographic cycle, and describe messages the priests said to victims that were enticing and


2. In the scene in which a journalist (Sacha Pfeiffer) interviews Father Ronald Paquin, the priest

justifies his actions by claiming that, “Sure, I fooled around. But I never raped anyone and I

never felt gratified myself. . . .” Paquin also claimed that he had been raped by other boys and

by a priest when he was a child. Relate this information to the textbook’s discussion of the

definition of sexual abuse, and to research on perpetrators’ history of victimization and trauma.

3. Discuss parents’ and families’ relations with priests that allowed the children access to the


4. The chief editor at the Boston Globe, Marty Baron, wants proof of systemic abuse by the Boston

Archdiocese. What does he mean? Besides the Church, describe how other systems (e.g.,

journalism, criminal justice) contributed to the continued abuse by priests.


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