Distributors at Open Road Films have acknowledged filmmakers fabricated dialogue that made it appear as if Jack Dunn, a spokesman at the Jesuit university, downplayed the extent of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal at the height of the Boston Globe's investigation of the scandal.

Dunn, the director of news and public affairs at Boston College, told the Associated Press on Wednesday (16Mar16) he felt sick when he saw the film, which chronicles the scandal and the work reporters did to take it public.

Dunn initially demanded the scene in question be removed but Open Road Films executives explained they could not cut it from a film already in theatres.

Announcing the settlement on Tuesday (15Mar16) in a statement, the film distributors said, "As is the case with most movies based on historical events, Spotlight contains fictionalised dialogue that was attributed to Mr. Dunn for dramatic effect. We acknowledge that Mr. Dunn was not part of the archdiocesan cover-up."

As part of the settlement, the film bosses have agreed to make donations in Dunn's name to Boston-area charities.

"I felt vindicated by the public announcement and relieved to have been able to put this experience behind me," Dunn said.

The scene he objected to featured actor Gary Galone, as Dunn, suggesting that Michael Keaton's real-life editor character, Walter Robinson, was "reaching" for a story as he suggested three former teachers had abused students during the 1970s.

Dunn, who was a student at the school, added, "To be portrayed in a film as being in-the-know about the clergy abuse scandal and indifferent to the suffering of the victims was personally devastating."