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.

David Goldman / AP

 

Pope Francis announced Friday that he has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl from his post as Archbishop of the Diocese of Washington, D.C.

2-Year Window For Child Sex Abuse Suits Divides Negotiators

3 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

A state House Democrat negotiating legislation to help victims of child sexual abuse is rejecting an approach recently circulated by the top-ranking Senate Republican.

Pope Accepts Resignation Of Cardinal Wuerl Amid Cover-Up Scandal

9 hours ago
Susan Walsh / AP

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl after he became entangled in two major sexual abuse and cover-up scandals and lost the support of many in his flock.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Inmates’ rights groups are trying to turn their opposition to recent state prison policies into a campaign issue for Governor Tom Wolf.

The new rules were handed down last month on the heels of a statewide prison lockdown, over concerns drugs were making their way inside state-run facilities.

Books must now be purchased though the Department of Corrections, and gifts and donations of books have been temporarily halted.

Virgina Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Most of the financials of Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses’ are a mystery to outsiders. As religious institutions, they don’t have to report income or spending. 

Haunted By Clergy Abuse, PA Family Leaves Catholic Church After Years-Long Struggle

Oct 9, 2018
Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

Each time there’s a new report or newspaper article about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Chuck Gesing steels himself.

PA Banking On New Program Providing Inmates With Financial Savvy To Succeed

Oct 8, 2018
401(K) 2012/Flickr

Pennsylvania has a new idea to help lower recidivism rates.

Zhoa / Flickr

After concerns that inmates were receiving drugs along with their literature, Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is in the middle of overhauling the way inmates get books.

Philly Program Teaches Defendants How To Help Themselves

Oct 5, 2018
Bastiaan Slabbers / Keystone Crossroads

 It was an early autumn afternoon in 1975 -- a moment that Steve Austin wishes he could take back.

Prisons Say Changes After Guards Fell Ill Have Cut Smuggling

Oct 5, 2018
Mark Scolforo / AP

Pennsylvania prison officials say they are seeing positive results from changes to mail and visiting policies meant to address a slew of incidents in recent months that caused dozens of corrections officers and other employees to seek medical help for suspected exposure to synthetic marijuana.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

How much does your county spend on public defense?

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

A Pennsylvania woman gave birth in a sports bar bathroom and left the baby there, where it soon died. Now the woman is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison.

U.S. Charges Russian Intel Officers For Hacking Anti-Doping Agencies, Westinghouse & Others

Oct 4, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday charged seven Russian intelligence officers with hacking anti-doping agencies and other organizations hours after Western officials leveled new accusations against Moscow's secretive GRU military spy agency.

Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Growing up, Michael Fiore didn’t worry about drugs or the violence in Blair County. Back then, he says the area, home to Altoona and Hollidaysburg, was safe.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said Tuesday that some of the most urgent terror threats facing the county and region include violent domestic groups, such as white supremacists , and "homegrown violent extremists" – individuals who are radicalized by terrorist groups, often through the internet.

Ohio's Largest Catholic Diocese To Out Abusive Priests

Oct 3, 2018
Eddie / Flickr

Ohio's largest Roman Catholic diocese will join three other dioceses in the state and release a list of priests who have been removed from their posts because of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations.

An-Li Herring / Keystone Crossroads

On a humid summer day, Shawnray Byrd works a new job renovating a home just outside Pittsburgh. During a break, he says he’s grateful to be employed and free.

Emma Lee / WHYY

If you hunt hard enough around Harrisburg, it is possible to find lawmakers who are on board with allocating state money for the public defense of the poor.

Wrongful Murder Conviction Points To Problems With Public Defense In PA

Oct 3, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Crystal Weimer’s nightmare began in 2004, when she was arrested for a crime she didn’t commit.

“When you go to jail, your whole family goes to jail,” Weimer said. “It’s just like a ripple effect — it’s just not you.”

She was charged with the murder of Curtis Haith, a 21-year-old who dreamed of becoming a chef.  Haith was shot in the face and beaten to death in front of his home in Fayette County, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Off Limits: Report On State College Abuse Kept From Public

Oct 1, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Even as top Pennsylvania officials assail the Catholic Church over its cover-up of clergy sexual abuse, a state agency is refusing to release a report on allegations of sexual abuse by a high-ranking state university administrator despite lingering questions about how the accusers' complaints were handled.

In Philadelphia, 200 Voice Fury At Kavanaugh Vote

Sep 28, 2018
Emma Lee / WHYY

About 200 people angry at Senate Republicans’ willingness to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gathered to protest outside the Philadelphia office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey Friday.

Matt Rourke / AP

In the first public arguments in the case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over redactions to the scathing grand jury report released last month alleging widespread child sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy in six of the state’s eight diocese.

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Despite admitting uncertainty about its findings, a panel has concluded that Penn Hills High School soccer players likely were targets of racial slurs at a Sept. 6 game against Connellsville Area High School.

Cosby Gets 3 To 10 Years For 2004 Sexual Assault

Sep 25, 2018
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.

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