William A. Donohue
The Boston Globe has been the most merciless attack dog in the media condemning the Catholic Church for the sexual abuse scandal. But when it comes to dealing with its own scandals, it plays a different game.
In the 1970s, a senior editor at the Boston Globe was known to sexually harass young female workers, plying them with alcohol before molesting them. More important, he was not the only one who preyed on women. But nothing was done to stop him, or the others.
Sexual abuse is still going on at the Globe. In March 2017, a young woman employee filed a complaint against a male journalist with human resources. She said he propositioned her to have sex with his wife. But nothing came of it. One year ago, the same man propositioned her to have sex with him. He was allowed to stay on the job, until, that is, more accusations were made against him from outside the office.
So who is he? The Globe refused to say. They declared this to be a “confidential personnel matter.” Indeed, they are proud of covering up for the predator. Globe editor Brian McGrory said he knew he would be accused of hypocrisy, but said, “I can live with that far more easily than I can live with the thought of sacrificing our values to slake the thirst of this moment.”
Well, looks like McGrory had to eat crow. We issued a news release on December 18 blasting his hypocrisy, asking subscribers to contact him. That night I blasted the Globe again on Laura Ingraham’s show. On December 22, he apologized for mishandling the latest incident and named the offender. But he never addressed previous cases of sexual misconduct, so he really didn’t come clean.
In 2002, the investigative staff of the Boston Globe published a book, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church; it detailed its findings on the sexual scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. It took the archdiocese to task for settling claims of priestly sexual abuse “in private, with no public record.” That is what McGrory initially defended.
The book also commended its editor at the time for challenging a judge’s confidentiality order “on the grounds that the public interest in unsealing the documents [of offending priests] outweighed the privacy concerns of the litigants” of the Boston archdiocese. We can only assume that “privacy rights” constitute the “values” that McGrory covets—for the Globe, that is. They certainly do not apply to the Catholic Church.
The editorial page of the Boston Globe has been relentless in criticizing the Catholic Church for its reluctance to name the names of priests who have been disciplined for sexual abuse, even though it now insists it has no obligation to name the names of its employees who have been disciplined for such offenses. Here is an example of its editorial treatment of the Church.
• It accused the Church of a “code of silence” about abusive priests. (7/20/92)
• “It’s time for the secrecy to end.” (1/9/02)
• “Compassionate means exist to resolve these cases, but only if the Archdiocese of Boston provides the names of victims to law enforcement officials.” (2/27/02)
• After accusing the Boston archdiocese of a “veil of secrecy,” it wrote that “Full disclosure ought to be standard practice throughout the Catholic Church in the United States.” (3/13/02)
• “The essence of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church was clerical power and secrecy.” (6/16/03)
• It noted that “the district attorney criticized O’Malley [when the Boston archbishop was Bishop of Fall River] for not releasing names of priests involved in long-ago cases of abuse until the Boston scandal flared last year.” (7/2/03)
• It said Boston Archbishop Bernard Law was forced to resign because he would not release “confidential church personnel files.” (7/17/07)
• It accused Pope Benedict XVI of ruling over a “secretive culture.” (4/25/10)
• It said the Church had “kept information from parishioners” about offending priests. (7/21/10)
• It said that “over the years, a lack of transparency has been a problem for the Boston archdiocese.” (3/25/11)
• Archbishop O’Malley, it said, prevailed over an archdiocese that lacked transparency, noting that “The linchpin was secrecy.” (8/27/11)
• It heralded Archbishop O’Malley’s decision to “release the names of priests accused of abuse,” imploring him to do more. (9/17/11)
If the Boston Globe had any integrity, it would not have one standard for itself and one for the Catholic Church. But it plainly does, and that is why its credibility, at least on this matter, is shot.
We need Hollywood to do a “Spotlight” film on the corruption within the Boston Globe. But that is not likely to happen: studio moguls, actors, and entertainers—most of whom feel about the Catholic Church the way the Globe does—are too embroiled in sexual abuse scandals of their own.