I’ll admit that a couple of years when Paul Edwards first came forward to accused Msgr. Michael Foster, I too was one of the skeptical ones. The Boston Globe, which had been so quick to champion the cause of any victim who came forward, didn’t have the time of day of for Edwards. It seemed to do everything it could to disparage his claim, running accounts from former associates who cast doubt in his character and his memory, reporting that dates he claimed to have been abused could not have been true because people were in different places. Foster was twice suspended from his duties as archdiocesan judicial vicar and twice cleared. Edwards’ civil lawsuit was dropped “with prejudice,” meaning he could never re-file it, after his lawyer quit.
But now Edwards is back in town and getting a open ear from the archdiocese. From the beginning, it was the Boston Herald that supported Edwards’ story and started casting doubt on the Globe‘s coverage of the story, finding people who would back up Edwards’ claims and his character. What we’re hearing now, according to Edwards’ supporters, is that Foster used his connections at the Globe to use the newspaper as a PR campaign.
The main conduit for the PR campaign, Edwards’ supporters say, was The Boston Globe, which is accused of publishing a dozen articles based on information provided to it by Foster’s supporters.
But documents obtained by the coalition show the priest in charge of investigating Edwards’ initial abuse claims, the Rev. Sean M. Connor, wrote to Foster admonishing him to cease the PR campaign. In one document, Connor says a Globe reporter told him Foster was “issuing quotes on my behalf, which were obviously not true.”
If true, this is appalling behavior by Foster. Innocent or not, for a priest to use a secret campaign to attack an accuser and destroy him with falsehoods is reprehensible. Just as bad would be the Globe, which has been riding a self-righteous high horse for three years as the voice of the abused against the Church, having then unethically allowed itself to be used in a campaign of lies to attack one of those victims.
Note that it is the Church now re-examining the case to determine its merits and get to the bottom of what happened, not the newspaper.