Kim Donohue, wife of Marathon survivor Dic Donohue, addresses Kevin Cullen's fabrications on K&C

Alex Reimer
June 18, 2018 - 11:25 am

One of the prevailing questions about the Kevin Cullen saga is how Marathon survivors feel about the Boston Globe columnist fabricating details of the day’s events in his subsequent reporting and commentary. Kim Donohue, whose husband, Dic, is the transit police officer who was shot and nearly killed during the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, spoke about the situation in an interview with “Kirk & Callahan” Monday.

Donohue says they haven’t allowed Cullen’s falsehoods to bother them, partially because he’s not alone. According to Donohue, other people have lied about their involvement in the Marathon bombings as well. The difference is, they’re not all Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists.

“I think it's like a disaster munchausen, and unfortunately it's not just him,” Donohue said. “We have run into quite a few people –– now granted, they are not journalists reporting, and that's his job and where the line is crossed –– when we sat in that court room, I can tell you first-hand we sat next to a woman that, to this day, Dic and I know her story is untrue. We know there's no way she was at the finish line. We know there's no way her injuries were  not falsified. And it's things we talk about all of the time. It's not just (Cullen). This has happened to a lot of people. I run into people all the time at events. 'There is no way you were part of this Marathon story,' and somehow, they've inserted themselves to the point where they believe that it's true.”

On Friday, the Globe announced it was suspending Cullen three months without pay for making up stories about the Marathon bombings, such as wrongly identifying the officer who carried Jane Richard, Martin’s sister, to the ambulance. Donohue told K&C she had questions about Cullen’s work at the time, referencing an article he wrote about Sean Collier, the MIT officer who the Tsarnaevs killed on the night preceding the Watertown shootout. In it, Cullen says he met Collier while he was working with the Somerville Police Department. 

Donohue says she found that hard to believe at the time. “I had gone over it in my mind, and I had talked with a member of the Collier family, and I just couldn't figure it out,” she said. “How would Kevin Cullen have met Sean Collier prior to this? Sean worked in Somerville PD prior to his role, and he was of sort of sitting in a backroom with a computer. So when you think about it, at what point would Kevin have ever gone in and had a conversation with Sean? And even if he did, what would make him remember that specific conversation with that specific person? It didn't line up to me.”

While Donohue recognizes the difficulty in reporting on a tragic event like the Marathon bombings, she says Cullen’s mistakes are different, because his misrepresentation and distortion seems to be intentional. 

“For me, with Kevin Cullen, I think the water gets muddied when it's the insertion of himself. It's not necessarily him interviewing other people –– it's 'he was there,' he has the 'close relationships with who,’” she said. “Dic and I never speak for anybody outside of ourselves, and we certainly don't know how survivors –– Martin Richard's family or anybody else –– thinks of this. But we sort of brush things off our shoulders at this point. It doesn't need to be embellished on. You've said it before, we don't need to add something more to what's already an incredible story. Believe me, I've told it to strangers on flights who don't even believe it's true. So there's no need to embellish on it. So what would that motive be? And to that, I don't know. I don't know if any of us would know at this point.”

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