Phil Saviano, Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivor and Boston Globe Spotlight Source, Dies at 69


Phil Saviano, whose activism and personal history inspired a Pulitzer Prize winner Boston Globe investigation and an Oscar-winning film, died Sunday. He was 69 years old. Her death came at the end of a long battle with gallbladder cancer, about a month after starting hospice care at her brother’s home in Massachusetts. The WorldThe 2002 Spotlight investigation was largely fueled by Saviano, whose meticulous record keeping proved the Church’s covert and systemic predation. A survivor of sexual abuse from the Catholic clergy himself, Saviano’s role as leader of the New England chapter of the Priest Abuse Survivors Network was fictitious in 2015. Projector, which won the Oscar for Best Picture that year.

After going public with his story in 1991, Saviano, also facing an AIDS diagnosis, struggled for years to make his voice heard. Mike Rezendes, a member of the Spotlight team during its abuse investigation, called Saviano a “key source” on the story. “He also shared his own heartbreaking story of abuse, imbuing us with the iron determination we needed to break this horrific story,” Rezendes added. “In our reporting, and over the past 20 years, I have come to know Phil well and I have never met someone so brave, compassionate or astute.”

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