The Warner Bros. movie, Sleepers, which opens October 18, is a hoax. Starring Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt and Dustin Hoffman, the film is based on the Lorenzo Carcaterra book by that name.
Sleepers purports to be a true story about four youths from Sacred Heart School, a Catholic elementary school in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. They were supposedly sent to an upstate New York reform school in the 1960s for committing a prank that injured an old man. While at the reformatory, we are told, the boys were sexually assaulted and beaten by guards. Then in the 1980s two of the boys, now hit men, meet one of the guards and kill him. One of the other boys is now an Assistant District Attomey who arranges to take the case so he can sabotage it. The other youth works as a copy boy at the Daily News. Allegedly, a priest from Sacred Heart perjures himself by providing an alibi for the two killers.
Attorneys Bill Callahan and Thomas Harvey have thoroughly investigated this story and have found it baseless. The Catholic League also came to this conclusion, as did distinguished True Crime writers. Several reporters from both the print and electronic media have also determined that the story is false.
At a press conference at Sacred Heart School (457 W. 51st Street) on October 16 at 10:30 a.m., Catholic League president William Donohue, attorneys Callahan and Harvey, as well as Father Kevin Nelan, the pastor at Sacred Heart, will discuss this issue more fully.
Donohue made the following comment today:
“To defame Catholic schools and priests is malicious. The entire story is a hoax: there was no crime, no one went to reform school, there was no killing and no priest ever perjured himself. The real culprits here are author Lorenzo Carcaterra, his editor at Ballantine Books, Peter Gethers, and movie director Barry Levinson.
“I am confident that once independent observers track this story, they will validate the charges made here.”