The subject of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church is variously swept under the rug or sensationalized. But in the new documentary Deliver Us from Evil (out now on DVD), director Amy Berg has produced a gripping investigation of former priest Oliver O’Grady, who sexually abused children for two decades — and a magnificent, even-keeled indictment of the church that failed to stop him.
Deported to Ireland after serving seven years in prison in the U.S., O’Grady, who abused both boys and girls, agreed to be interviewed at length for the film. He looks like a kindly Irish gentleman — until he hangs himself with his own words. At one point, he acknowledges that a child he was abusing seemed “a little uneasy.” Ultimately, he appears to feel little more than mild regret for his actions.
Berg builds a powerful case for the church’s culpability — Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, comes across as almost criminally negligent — and gives O’Grady’s victims a chance to speak out. Their moving and angry testimony is the righteous heart of the film.
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