‘Spotlight’ Star John Slattery Saw Hints of Sexual Abuse in Catholic Church as Child (Video)

Slattery stars as Ben Bradlee, Jr., who oversaw the Boston Globe’s investigation into misconduct by priests

Last Updated: January 5, 2016 @ 5:45 PM

In “Spotlight,” John Slattery stars as Boston Globe editor Ben Bradlee Jr., who oversaw the paper’s investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests, but being from Boston himself, Slattery grew up in the midst of the misconduct.

“There were priests that would just disappear from my high school,” Slattery told TheWrap. “I never heard any specific rumors about anybody in any kind of abusive situation, but there were several priests that just didn’t show up for school one day and never came back.”

“Spotlight,” starring Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d’Arcy James, was directed by Tom McCarthy and follows a team of Boston Globe journalists who uncover a massive history of child molestation among priests in the Catholic church. Since its debut at The Venice Film Festival in September, it has received stellar reviews and currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97 percent.

Sitting with the real Bradlee Jr., the actor recalled a specific memory from his childhood, in which his sisters refused to go downstairs when a certain priest came over for dinner.

“I didn’t know that Father Burns was doing anything wrong, but my sisters wouldn’t want to go downstairs because Father Burns was there,” he said. “My parents would say, ‘Well go down and talk to him while we finish getting dressed,’ and they would go, ‘I don’t want to…’ He would sit you on his lap and he was kissing them. They were uncomfortable, but that was what it was like.”

Watch the video above.