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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to host U.S. premiere of Holy Water-Gate

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Film focuses on cover-up of sex abuses in the Catholic Church


KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 8, 2004 -- Holy Water-Gate, a documentary film about sexual abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, written, produced and directed by Mary Healey-Conlon, will have its U.S. premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. at the University of Rhode Islandís Biological Sciences auditorium, Kingston campus. The screening, sponsored by URIís Film Studies Program, M. Beverly Swan, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Winifred Brownell, dean of URIís College of Arts & Sciences and URIís Center for Humanities, is free and open to the public.

Healey-Conlon, a lecturer in communications and film studies at URI, worked on the film for five years. Holy Water-Gate examines the sexual abuse scandals involving priests and the cover-up within the church. It includes interviews with victims, perpetrators and church officials as Healey-Conlon traces the history of the scandals and digs into the manner in which the church covered them up for decades.

The filmís most dramatic elements center around exclusive access to key individuals in the crisis, among them John Bambrick, a young priest who was molested by a priest as an adolescent. Bambrick was later charged by the church in its canon court for speaking about the abuse he suffered.

Holy Water-Gate also has exclusive access to a priest who has admitted his crimes. In the film he explains the culture of the church and the methods the church and civil authorities used to conceal sexual crimes against children. The film also features interviews with Francis Cardinal George, chairman of the Vaticanís Commission on Sex Abuse Policy.

Author Jason Berry will make a brief presentation before the screening of Holy Water-Gate. An investigative journalist, Berry is the author of Lead Us Not Into Temptation, which deals with the sexual abuse crisis. He has appeared on numerous television news and talk shows and has worked as a consultant to ABC News.

Holy Water-Gate has received screenings in several European countries and in Canada, including broadcast on television networks in Australia, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark.
Healey-Conlon is negotiating with several U.S. television entities for broadcast of the film in the United States.