A victim gets a new hearing

A victim gets a new hearing

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.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
4 comments
  • First, an emphatic disclaimer:  I know absolutely nothing about the case that has been/is being adjudicated against Foster.

    That said, I’d like to offer a jumping-off point for further investigation:  what is the nature of the relationship(s) between Foster, his close friends and supporters and any reporter/editor at the Globe?

    Like Dom, I was curious about the strange, against-the-grain feeling of this story.  Almost immediately, the Globe (virtually by itself) began trashing Edwards.  Even when the story broke (I think in the Herald) that Edwards’ stories were not fakery, the Globe was strangely quiet.

    There are two things of note about this whle “crisis” or “scandal” which nobody really talks about.  First, the fact that the overwhelming (85% +) number of sexual liasons that have been the basis for lawsuits are homosexual in nature.  That is, the predator priest approached a teenage, post-pubescent boy as opposed to a pre-pubescent child.  The shrill scream from the media has been “pedophilia,” but I think that at least part of their willingness to overlook reality is that true pedophilia cannot be linked to homosexuality.  If, however, the scandal were to be called by its rightful name, the problem of the “gay priesthood” would have to be dealt with, and the media is in favor of a “gay priesthood.”

    The second thing that is not discussed is the “underground” nature of homosexuality.  Particularly within the priesthood, which is supposed to uphold traditional Church teaching on sexuality, “gays” go underground, and have an unseen network of friends and relationships that are not open to scrutiny. 

    Now, as I emphatically stated above, I have zero personal knowledge of the Foster case.  But the rapidity of the Globe response—going against what had been its pattern of bias against accused priests—makes one wonder if some series of unseen relationships between Foster and his friends and the reporter(s) for the Globe influenced the paper’s public position.

    Finally, every priest in the diocese who read the final paragraph about Foster being reprimanded by Connor for issuing false quotes gasped inwardly, I can assure you.  If this is true, that’s a bad, bad sign.

  • Dom doesn’t mention it, but Msgr. Foster left his former post at the tribunal a couple of months ago and went on some sort of leave;  Diogenes would say it’s a mere coincidence. 

    Perhaps there will be a settlement from the Church this time and some measure of vindication for Mr. Edwards, despite the dismissal of the lawsuit. 

    What would it mean if the top judicial official for the archdiocese should turn out to have been part of the problem?

  • I guess what I was asking (after some further research on my part ex post posting) was “What team does Walter V. Robinson bat for?”  And if he DOES bat for the other team (or is a ‘symp’) what connection—if any—does he have with MSF?

  • Do I sense a patina forming on the Pulitzer?

    O, the virtues of having two papers in town!

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