SNAP hails the Oscar winning movie Spotlight for work on priest abuse

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(KTVI) - Spotlight was the surprise winner at the Oscars, but the investigative work done by the real life spotlight team was no surprise to one St. Louisan.

'We were in touch with the Boston Globe investigative team before they wrote their first story and certainly throughout 2002 and 2003 when they ran almost 800 stories about predator priests,' says David Clohessy, Director Snapnetwork.org.

The story of the Boston globe's investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese was turned into an Oscar-winning movie.

But for David Clohessy it's not the closing of a chapter, but instead more work that still needs to be done.

'The only thing that makes the Boston Archdiocese different if you will than the St. Louis Archdiocese is that there's just been greater scrutiny,' says Clohessy.

Clohessy has been involved with SNAP, the Survivor`s Network for those Abused by Priests, for 27 years.

'The first half of all that period was a very lonely frustrating time when people didn't think priests did this, or that bishops covered it up or thought that when it did happen it was just a couple of bad eggs or apples in the barrel,' says Clohessy.  'So there's been a huge sea change in public awareness.'

Clohessy says spotlight's spotlight on years of abuse in the Catholic Church is allowing many worldwide to think talk and take action and reach out to snapnetwork.org.

'Because of the film we're hearing from more victims and witnesses and whistle-blowers,' says Clohessy.  'Every single call is of course tragic but it's also encouraging because it means that people are breaking their silence.'