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During February of 2002, just in time for Pulitzer Prize deliberations, the Globe reconfigured its web site to rework its previous approach to the Foster case.  Note that the new chronology of developments in the Foster "saga" is incomplete.  Missing from this new timeline is perhaps the most important story on Foster published in the Globe: Archdiocese knew of 2d lawsuit when it rejected claim.

In this article, Spotlight editor Walter V. Robinson was forced to amend a few of the many lies that he had published on the Foster case.  Of course, in keeping with Globe standards of honest reporting, Robinson never admitted his central role in wrongly undermining the credibility of Paul R. Edwards, Foster's accuser.

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Spotlight Report

  Parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish in Newton applaud Monsignor Michael Smith Foster as he walks to the altar on November 24 after being cleared of abuse charges. (Globe Staff Photo / Michael Dwyer)

The saga of Monsignor Michael Smith Foster

In August 2002, Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, the chief canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of Boston, was accused of sexual abuse by a man whose credibility was almost immediately called into question. After a 76-day ordeal in which he was twice removed from duty, Foster was reinstated in October, sobered by his experience.

November 25, 2002
Joyous at his vindication, a Newton parish welcomes Monsignor Michael Smith Foster
By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff
Monsignor Michael Smith Foster's walk up the center aisle of Newton's Sacred Heart Parish - a return to his favorite parish after being cleared of sexual abuse allegations - looked like a victory lap.

November 24, 2002
Priest reinstated after false accusation is angry
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
No one in authority, not Cardinal Bernard Law or any other bishop, has apologized to Monsignor Michael Smith Foster for the way he was treated during his ordeal as a priest falsely accused.

November 18, 2002
Cleared priest returns to altar; church marks justice system ties
By Peter DeMarco, Globe Staff
Catholic leaders and a Harvard scholar used yesterday's annual Red Mass and Catholic Lawyers Guild luncheon to welcome back a monsignor falsely accused of sexual misconduct.

November 1, 2002
Reinstated monsignor questions church policies
By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff
After weathering two church investigations, Monsignor Michael Smith Foster yesterday returned to his post at the Boston archdiocese with a host of unanswered questions about the fate of others.

October 31, 2002
Archdiocese reinstates Foster after second probe
By Michael Rezendes and Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
For a second time, the Archdiocese of Boston has reinstated Monsignor Michael Smith Foster to active ministry after a two-month ordeal during which he twice took a leave of absence.

September 25, 2002
Archdiocese eyes more legal rights for accused priests
By Stephen Kurkjian and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
Church officials plan to offer their first official response to priests who say they have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct and then languish in legal limbo, hearing little from the church.

September 23, 2002
Spotlight: Church faulted on slow pace of priest abuse probes
By Walter V. Robinson and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff
In the more than five weeks since Monsignor Michael Smith Foster was accused of sexual abuse, more than a dozen people have said they have evidence that will disprove the accusation.

September 15, 2002
Church reverses return of priest, extends inquiry
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
In a stunning turnabout, the Archdiocese of Boston yesterday reversed its decision to return Monsignor Michael Smith Foster to duty, just days after investigators had exonerated him.

September 12, 2002
Church clears Foster of abuse charge; monsignor to regain job
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
The Archdiocese of Boston has formally exonerated Monsignor Michael Smith Foster of charges that he sexually molested a Newton teenager, according to people involved with the decision.

September 7, 2002
Foster says he is 'disheartened' by church silence
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
Monsignor Michael Smith Foster expressed dismay with the Archdiocese of Boston yesterday for its public silence about his fate, three days after his accuser withdrew his sexual abuse lawsuit.

September 4, 2002
Man drops sexual abuse claim against two priests
By Sacha Pfeiffer and Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff
Amid growing doubts about the credibility of his charges, a Winchendon man yesterday withdrew a lawsuit accusing Monsignor Michael Smith Foster and another Boston priest of sexual abuse.

September 4, 2002
A false accusation
A Boston Globe Editorial
The clergy sexual abuse scandal, because it was kept hidden from view for so long, was bound to produce false accusations once it exploded into public notice this year.

September 1, 2002
Rights of priests at issue in abuse probes
By Sacha Pfeiffer and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff
The archdiocese did not take even minimal steps to gauge the credibility of the allegations against Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, despite evidence that the abuse charges may be baseless.

August 30, 2002
Judge voices concerns on suit against priests
By Walter V. Robinson and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney yesterday declared that she has "significant concerns" about the credibility of sexual abuse allegations against two priests.

August 23, 2002
More doubts surface about abuse allegations
By Walter V. Robinson and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
The lawyer for a former Newton resident who has accused two priests of molesting him in the 1980s said yesterday that he will seek to verify claims by his client that are now in doubt.

August 22, 2002
Allegations against two priests draw scrutiny
By Walter V. Robinson and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff
Paul R. Edwards, who has accused two Boston-area priests of abusing him in the 1980s, has a long history of embellishment, according to many of his childhood friends.

August 21, 2002
Priests' organization seeks rights for accused
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
The Boston Priests Forum is demanding rights for priests accused of sexually abusing minors, as the organization's members express concerns that a priest might be falsely charged.

August 17, 2002
Lawsuit alleges abuse by two priests
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
A Winchendon man alleged in a lawsuit filed this week that he was sexually molested as a Newton teenager by two priests during the same period, one a monsignor and canon lawyer.


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