Priest Sexual Abuse in the Phoenix Catholic Diocese and the Movie Spotlight

The movie Spotlight is about the Boston Globe investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by dozens of priests in the Catholic Church in Boston. Similar issues have plagued the Phoenix Diocese.

The investigation revealed a longstanding cover up of priest sexual abuse of children. The Globe found that priests were moved from parish to parish across the country.

The movie ends with a list of places in the United States and around the world where abuse by priests has occurred, Phoenix was listed.

The movie recognized the groundbreaking and acclaimed 1992 book, Lead Us Not Into Temptation, by Jason Berry, which details years of abuse of boys by Catholic priests. Cases of abuse were found in many locations, including New Orleans, New York City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Cleveland, Honolulu, Seattle, Newfoundland.

I was mentioned by Jason Berry in his book as one of the many attorneys who facilitated his research. I represented victims of sexual abuse committed by a Phoenix Diocese priest, the case was litigated and settled.

In 2003 it was reported that Phoenix Diocese Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien acknowledged that he covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests. Bishop O’Brien stated that he knowingly let priests accused of sexual misconduct work with children and that he transferred clergy accused of abuse without informing their superiors or parishioners about the allegations.

In 2012 the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix released a list of 24 clergy members who were accused or convicted of abusing children.