‘Spotlight’ Lawyer Is No Hero – OpEd


Stanley Tucci plays church-suing attorney Mitchell Garabedian in “Spotlight,” the film that opens tomorrow about the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. Tucci, who has never met Garabedian, calls him “the unsung hero” of this story. He also says the lawyer “cares about these victims.”

It is too bad Garabedian cares not a whit about priests who have had their repu tations ruined by false allegations. For example, in 2006 Garabedian sued Fr. Charles Murphy for inappropriately touching a minor; the girl said the incident occurred 25 years earlier. On the eve of the trial, the woman dropped her suit. In 2010, Garabedian sued Fr. Murphy for allegedly fondling a man 40 years ago. The accuser was deep in debt and his credibility was questioned even by his own family! After a six month probe by the archdiocesan review board, the priest was exonerated.

When Fr. Murphy died in 2011, he was a broken man. Brian McGrory wrote about him in the Boston Globe saying that what Garabedian did was “a disgrace.” After reading the story, I called Garabedian to see if he had any regrets about pressing charges against Fr. Murphy. He went ballistic: He started screaming like a mad man accusing the archdiocese of operating a “kangaroo court.” I asked him to calm down but he would not. Indeed he made sweeping condemnations of all Boston priests.

A few weeks after my phone call, Garabedian spoke at a conference held by SNAP, the professional victims’ group. “This immoral entity,” he said, “the Catholic Church, should be defeated. We must stand up and defeat this evil.” This is not the voice of reason—i t is the voice of a hater.

Two days ago, Garabedian was asked on a WGHB 2 show, “Greater Boston,” whether things are any better now in the Boston Archdiocese. “They’re worse,” he replied.

All the data prove that Garabedian is dead wrong. That’s why he offered no evidence. He is no “unsung hero” and his witch-hunt against some innocent priests is indefensible.

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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