The name “Phil Saviano” became known to clergy abuse victims around the world in 2016, due to his portrayal in the Academy Award winning film, “Spotlight.” People in the United States, however, especially those closely involved in SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests,” had, by then, known of Phil’s courage, compassion and generosity of spirit for nearly 25 years.
It was in late 1992 that he broke his silence about his childhood sexual assaults by the Worcester, MA Diocese priest David Holley.HIs revelations led to front page news reports in the Boston Globe and USAToday. In 1996, after gaining access to Holley’s personnel files, Phil reached a lawsuit settlement with the Diocese. In a unique triumph, he became the first known Massachusetts abuse victim to settle a case with no restrictions on speaking freely about what he’d learned. It led to a Boston Globe story with a headline that was predictive of Phil’s future work, “He Refuses To Be Silent.” The next year, he formalized his outreach to other victims, and established the New England chapter of SNAP.