Identity & Justice

The identity and justice desk explores how the makeup of the Pittsburgh community is changing, and digs into issues of diversity and equity.

Cosby Gets 3 To 10 Years For 2004 Sexual Assault

6 hours ago
Matt Slocum / AP

His Hollywood career and good-guy image in ruins, an 81-year-old Bill Cosby was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years behind bars for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, becoming the first celebrity of the #MeToo era to be sent to prison.

The punishment all but completed the dizzying, late-in-life fall from grace for the comedian, former TV star and breaker of racial barriers.

Matt Slocum / AP

When it came time to address the court at Bill Cosby’s sentencing, main accuser Andrea Constand sat in the witness stand, a place she’s been twice before, and spoke for less than a minute.

“Your honor, I have testified. I have given you my victim impact statement,” she told Judge Steven O’Neill during Monday’s sentencing hearing. “The jury heard me. Mr. Cosby heard me, and all I’m asking for is justice as the court sees fit.”

If the court listens to the prosecution, 81-year-old Cosby will receive the maximum possible punishment under the law of 10 years in state prison.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

Hulking German Shepherd Dogs are a ubiquitous part of many police forces -- sniffing for drugs, bombs and all manner of bad guys -- but another breed greets its target with a lick.

  Pittsburgh K-9 trainer Sgt. Sean Duffy says his latest recruit, Cappy, a 17-month-old bloodhound puppy, will be an essential part of the force's search and recovery and missing persons efforts.

Psychologist: Cosby A Predator With Uncontrollable Urges

Sep 24, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing opened Monday with a debate over whether the 81-year-old comedian should be declared a "sexually violent predator" — a scarlet letter that would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification of his whereabouts.

Bill Cosby will walk into a Pennsylvania courthouse Monday and face the judge who has presided over the world-famous comedian's sexual assault case for nearly three years. The sentencing hearing may conclude with Cosby losing his freedom for the rest of his life.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Bishop David Zubik kicked off the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese’s Year of Repentance Sunday.

Pennsylvania Dioceses Consider Victims' Compensation Fund

Sep 21, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses said late Friday they are willing to set up a victims' compensation fund as they face the prospect that state lawmakers will give victims of decades-old child sexual abuse another chance to sue the church.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A young girl seriously injured after a 2015 high-speed chase with police ended in a head-on collision is suing the city of Pittsburgh and the Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County, alleging the chase never should have happened.

Marc Levy / AP

A number of groups that provide legal assistance to inmates in Pennsylvania's state prisons have stopped mail correspondence with their clients.

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A West Pennsylvania college has renamed its student activity center after receiving credible allegations of sexual abuse against the hall's previous clerical namesake.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

A gag order barring anyone involved with the case against East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld from talking about it has been issued.

According to multiple reports, judge Alexander Bicket issued the gag order late Wednesday.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

The judge overseeing East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld’s case has recused himself.

Marc Levy / AP

A new report finds Pennsylvania sentences more inmates to life behind bars, without the possibility of parole, than any country outside the U.S. More than 5,300 prisoners in Pennsylvania are serving life without parole, according to the report from the Abolitionist Law Center.

Only Florida has more inmates serving life without parole -- and the much more populous Sunshine State has almost twice as many prisoners as Pennsylvania.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

For more than 40 years, the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has stepped in to provide safe harbor and support for survivors of intimate partner violence, and they recently promoted one of their own. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

When the August Wilson Center for African American Culture opened in 2009, there was hope and optimism about a rich community asset in the heart of Downtown, but financial troubles plagued the development from the start, leading to bankruptcy and nearly foreclosure. 

Andrew Rush / AP

Parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy are suing Pennsylvania's eight dioceses and their bishops to compel them to release information about allegations.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Prosecutors are seeking a gag order in the case of a western Pennsylvania officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that an Allegheny County court hearing is scheduled Wednesday on the request to bar lawyers, potential witnesses and others from talking about the case.

Natalie Piserchio / WHYY

While scathing, last month's grand jury report about clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania was released with a big caveat.

B. LaRae Photography

Car seats, strollers and diapers are among the items that will be provided to pregnant women of color this weekend at a community baby shower on the Northside.

Julio Cortez / AP

A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana was cleared Thursday of suspicions of misconduct involving a former jail inmate he counseled while serving as a Pennsylvania priest in the 1990s.

Francis Calls Clergy Abuse Summit As Issue Imperils Papacy

Sep 12, 2018
Alessandra Tarantino / AP

Pope Francis summoned the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences Wednesday to a summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children, responding to the greatest crisis of his papacy with the realization that Vatican inaction on the growing global scandal now threatens his legacy.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Immigrants comprise 3.4 percent of the Pittsburgh region’s population but are collectively much more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born Americans.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Bishop David Zubik asked clergy members in the Pittsburgh Diocese to participate in a Year of Repentance. The announcment came one month after a state grand jury report alleged widespread child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

In court Tuesday morning, East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld’s lawyer said he may file motions to seek a jury outside of Allegheny County and to have the judge hearing the case removed.

Jamil's Global Village

Pittsburgh’s Muslim community is mourning the loss of one of its leaders. Jamil Brookins died Sunday morning from cancer at age 70.

Marc Levy / AP

After a 12-day lockdown at all state prisons, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections says it’s resuming normal operations.

States Eye Pennsylvania’s Clergy Probe As Court Battle Looms

Sep 10, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania's sweeping grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Roman Catholic Church dioceses is drawing growing attention from prosecutors elsewhere as a court battle looms that could curtail such investigative reports in the future.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Friday that more than 15 state attorneys general and a senior Justice Department official have contacted him about his office's two-year investigation, what child advocates have called the biggest of its kind by a state into church cover-ups of abusive clergymen.

Lisa Wardle / WITF

Tuesday will mark 17 years since United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a remote, Somerset County field.

Mick Stinelli / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Steve Ruark / Ap

A former Pennsylvania Roman Catholic bishop who now serves in Indiana has denied an allegation of misconduct.

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend told PennLive.com in a statement Thursday that former Harrisburg bishop Kevin Rhoades "adamantly denies" the accusation and that he "did nothing wrong."

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo received the report last month. Rhoades hasn't been charged.

According to Chardo, the alleged male victim was around 18-years-old when the incident happened. Chardo says the individual died in 1996.

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