Globe investigations and Spotlight reports

A look at the high-impact investigations from The Boston Globe, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning report on abuse in the Catholic Church.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

part 1

Aaron Hernandez hid secrets behind his smile

The future football star grew up to respect — and fear — his father. And to keep much about his life to himself. Read part one of the Spotlight report “Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.”

part 2

// How college helped fuel Aaron Hernandez’s rise, and accelerated his fall

New evidence underscores how the coldly corporatized world of big-time college football indulged and exacerbated the very traits in Hernandez that would one day destroy his life and end others: His anger. His recklessness. His fascination with violence and the violent. His admitted immaturity.

Secret courts (2018)

// What do you think of this secret court system?

A Spotlight Team investigation has revealed the darkest corner of the Massachusetts criminal justice system.

BOSTON, MA - 9/04/2018: Governor Charlie Baker at Baker-Polito HQ in Allston (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 05governor

State leaders call for transparency in closed-door criminal hearings

Officials were responding to a Globe Spotlight report that detailed how secret criminal hearings resulted in some suspects not facing charges for serious crimes — even though police had substantial evidence.

Inside our ‘secret courts’

In these private hearings, who you are — and who you know — may be just as important as right and wrong. Read the Spotlight report.

'Quiet Skies' (2018)

Welcome to the Quiet Skies

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program.

// TSA admits ‘Quiet Skies’ surveillance snared zero threats

In a briefing with congressional committee staffers, TSA officials provided details on the “Quiet Skies” program, which expanded in March to include monitoring by teams of armed, undercover air marshals.

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff/file

special report

Lawmakers demand answers on ‘Quiet Skies’ surveillance program after Globe report

After the Boston Globe revealed the program, officials agreed Monday to brief Congress this week.

Part one: The image of Boston

Does Boston still deserve its racist reputation?

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

While the city has made much progress, look at income, employment, segregation, and politics — and reevaluate how far we’ve really come.

Part Two: The Seaport

// A brand new Boston, even whiter than the old

The hope was that Boston’s newest neighborhood — the Seaport — would be for everyone; after all, some $18 billion in taxpayers’ dollars were devoted to it. But look around and you will see a place that benefits largely the white and wealthy.

Shirley Coffey felt she was kept waiting longer than white patients in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital emergency room decades ago. The hospital said it’s confident patients are treated equally today.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Part three: Hospitals

Color line persists, in sickness as in health

Though the issue gets scant attention in this center of world-class medicine, segregation patterns are deeply imbedded in Boston health care. If you are black in Boston, you are less likely to get care at several of the city’s elite hospitals than if you are white.

I wish there was an organization in Boston that existed for the purposes of encouraging social interaction between blacks and whites.

// The king of Swaziland’s ‘gift’ showcases the lure of American plane registration to foreign leaders

The king’s ministers said it was a birthday gift, a luxury jet registered to a bank in the United States. But the donor was a mystery.

Globe Spotlight

Secrets in the sky

With lax FAA oversight, the United States remains an easy mark for terrorists and others who prize anonymity when registering aircraft or getting licensed to fly. So much for the lessons of 9/11.

//[1].jpg Modeling’s glamour hides web of abuse

The fashion industry is built on glamour and allure, but many models, especially the very young, know it for something else: sexual exploitation and abuse.

This photo provided by Open Road Films shows, Michael Keaton, from left, as Walter

Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films

Out of ‘Spotlight,’ the movie, comes the Spotlight Fellowship

The producers of “Spotlight” had just won the 2016 Academy Award for best picture, but they wanted to go further: they wanted to support new investigative journalism.

Catholic priests and their children (2017)

spotlight | part 1

Children of Catholic priests live with secrets and sorrow

(FOR FUTURE PUBLICATION.) Seneca, South Carolina, 08/09/17, Jim Graham, son of a Catholic priest, holds his father's crucifix at his home. Spotlight story on the children of priests. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

A Globe review finds the children are often denied love and support and pressured to keep the scandal secret. And the church has done little to help.

An invisible legion of suffering: the stories of children of priests

They can be found wherever the Catholic church has a presence, children whose fathers broke are priests who broke their vows of celibacy — and often their children’s hearts.

Subpar care at N.H. veterans' hospital (2017)


At a four-star veterans’ hospital: Care gets ‘worse and worse’

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

The only hospital for military veterans in N.H. has become ground zero for an extraordinary rebellion led by doctors who say care for their patients is deteriorating fast.

spotlight follow-up

// Top 2 officials out at Manchester VA hospital

The action came after a Spotlight Team report detailed what several doctors and other staffers say is dangerously substandard care.

Spotlight Follow-up

// Veterans Affairs secretary promises ‘brand new’ review of Manchester hospital

Federal investigators looking into allegations of substandard care at the Manchester veterans’ hospital will disregard an internal report that found no serious problems.

Manchester, NH- August 04, 2017: Secretary of Veterans Affairs departs a press conference at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, NH on August 04, 2017. (CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF) section: metro reporter:

spotlight follow-up

VA Secretary ousts third official at troubled N.H. hospital

VA Secretary David Shulkin said he was responding to allegations of dangerously substandard care made by medical staff in a Boston Globe report last month.

Spotlight follow-up

// VA hospitals flooded with complaints about care

The 11 whistle-blowers who spoke out against unsafe conditions at the Manchester, N.H., veterans hospital are just the tip of the iceberg.

A Spotlight Team Report

Clash in the name of Care

Clash in the name of Care

Should a surgeon run two operations at once?

It is the root question in a battle pitting a star surgeon against a great hospital, MGH, and the conflict has put careers and reputations at risk.

Watch the documentary

Inside the Globe’s Spotlight report on concurrent surgeries.

Share your story

Spotlight’s feedback section, where you can share information with our reporters confidentially.


// Star surgeon is scrutinized on concurrent procedures

New York authorities are probing how a famed prostate specialist manages his vast patient load.

Spotlight Follow-Up

// State acts on simultaneous surgeries

The move comes in the wake of a series of reports by the Globe Spotlight Team about double-booked operations.


// Concurrent surgeries come under new scrutiny

Following controversy at MGH, the world’s largest surgeons’ group is considering new guidelines for overlapping surgery.

// Clash in the Name of Care: The e-mails

The Globe Spotlight Team obtained e-mails that offer a rare glimpse at the heated battle inside MGH.

The Desperate and the Dead (2016)

The desperate and the dead | Part 1

Psychiatric hospitals replaced by a failed patchwork of resources

Those most ill, including people at risk of committing violence, are far too often left in the care of almost anyone except the professionals that could help.

The Desperate and the Dead | Part 2

When despair meets deadly force

Police are often the primary responders when someone in Massachusetts faces a mental health emergency. The result can be deadly.

The desperate and the dead | Part 3

// The broken covenant

Behind the fragmented state of mental health care lies a political system failure that spans decades — and continues.

Spotlight Follow-up

// A depleted state system fails many with serious mental illness

People with mental illness under the supervision of the Department of Mental Health have endangered themselves or others recently, including one who died.

// Humane care given a place at state’s harshest hospital

For years, Bridgewater State Hospital was the harshest mental health facility in the state, but times are dramatically changing.

The desperate and the dead | Part 4

// A suicide in the courtroom

Defendants with mental illness are much more likely to receive punishment than treatment, putting Mass. courts behind much of the country in addressing the mental health crisis.

The desperate and the dead | Part 5

// The ‘new asylums’

There may be no worse place for mentally ill people to receive treatment than prison, yet a growing number end up in the “new asylums.”

The Desperate and the Dead | Part 6

// The hidden cost when mental illness meets homelessness

Everyone knows David, and wants to help, as he bounces between shelters, hospitals, jail. He is among the many homeless people with mental illness who find no care system to address their desperation.

The Desperate and the Dead | Part 7

// The San Antonio solution

One Texas city took on mental health as a community and became a national model. Why can’t Mass. do the same?

Political donations from Thornton Law Firm (2016)


Law firm ‘bonuses’ tied to political donations

Michael Thornton made his name in the law by becoming a national leader in handling asbestos-related cases.

A small Boston law firm became a top funder of the national Democratic Party by paying lawyers “bonuses” for their political donations.


/rf/image_90x90/Boston/Content/Metro/Images/spotlight150x150-5331asdf-4853.jpg?uuid=3008dc88-e5bc-11e6-9b31-07af3a12d57d Firms profited from Garrett Bradley’s ties

The former state representative tapped his connections to make millions from pension fund lawsuits.

Spotlight Follow-up

Critics hit law firms’ bills after class-action lawsuits

Boston’s Thornton Law Firm, already under investigation for campaign donations, is at the center of controversy over overstated legal fees.

spotlight follow-up

Candidates returning donations from Thornton Law Firm attorneys

As of Nov. 1, the figure exceeded $300,000.

Spotlight Follow-Up

// Regulator sees ‘evidence of violations’ at Thornton Law Firm

Regulators told Attorney General Maura Healey they have evidence the law firm and its attorneys broke multiple laws.


// Healey hands Thornton Law case to independent prosecutor

Under pressure from Republicans, the Mass. AG said she would step aside in the probe of the firm, which donated to her 2014 campaign.


// Boston law firm could be charged on donations

Campaign finance officials plan to ask Attorney General Maura Healey to consider prosecuting partners at Boston’s Thornton Law Firm.

// New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan to return lawyers’ donations

The New Hampshire governor will return $51,000 after the Globe reported Thornton Law Firm had apparently reimbursed partners for contributions.

// Clinton, Walsh return donations from Boston law firm

Several politicians are returning thousands of dollars in donations from lawyers at Thornton Law Firm following a Spotlight Team report.

Spotlight Follow

// More calls for a probe of Thornton law firm’s political donations

An election watchdog group accused Thornton Law Firm of illegally reimbursing lawyers for their political donations.

Spotlight: Private schools, painful secrets (2016)

Spotlight Follow-up

// Report names 12 at Choate Rosemary Hall who allegedly abused students

In almost all of the cases, school officials failed to report sexual misconduct to the authorities when the accusations first surfaced and quietly fired teachers or allowed them to resign.

Abuse allegations at Phillips Exeter prompt investigation

News of the investigation comes days after a former teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy admitted to misconduct with students.

Phillips Exeter Academy under fire again for its handling of sexual misconduct allegations

When Michaella Henry told Phillips Exeter officials she had been sexually assaulted, officials didn’t contact police. Instead, they offered baked goods.

Private schools, painful secrets

// The unexpected price of reporting abuse: retaliation

The Globe found 15 instances of retaliation at New England private schools against students or employees who raised concerns about sexual abuse by staffers.

Private schools, painful secrets

Educators accused of sexual misconduct often find new posts

Some private schools, including Brooks School (above), allegedly concealed accusations of sexual abuse against educators who left under a cloud. In 1995, Brooks quietly struck a $300,000 settlement with a former administrator who allegedly had sex with a student.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

The Spotlight Team identified 31 private school educators who found work at other schools or other settings with children after accusations of sexual misconduct.


// Across region, outdated sex abuse laws have loopholes

Laura and Antonio Siracusa were shocked to learn police could do nothing when a teacher allegedly had sex with their 17-year-old daughter.


// Private schools, painful secrets

More than 200 victims. At least 90 legal claims. At least 67 private schools in New England. This is the story of hundreds of students sexually abused by staffers, and emerging from decades of silence today.

Contact the Spotlight Team

The Spotlight Team would like to hear from readers with tips about this series.

Fishy business (2012)

Restaurants substituted tuna (left) with escolar (right), a less expensive fish that can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Dec. 2, 2012

A 2011 Globe investigation found widespread seafood mislabeling at Massachusetts stores and restaurants. A 2012 follow-up investigation found not much has changed.

State drug lab scandal (2013)



A former state chemist is accused with mishandling drug evidence that may have helped convict hundreds of people from 2003 through 2012.

Inside 'Spotlight'

// The movie and the investigations

A look at The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, its award-winning investigative coverage, and the movie based on its reporting on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

How to give a tip

//[1]-0091.jpg Contact the Globe Spotlight Team

Information for the team’s tip-line, e-mail, PGP key, and USPS mail.