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.

As Bishop Looked On, Abusive 'Father Ned' Got New Assignment

Sep 5, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Roman Catholic bishop who apologized to his flock last month for the "misguided and inappropriate decisions of church leaders" is reckoning with his own role — revealed in federal court a decade ago — in the system that protected pedophile priests.

Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera handled three sexual misconduct cases during his three-year tenure as diocesan vicar for clergy. He testified about one of them in a 2007 civil trial over clergy abuse.

Jaqueline Larma / AP, file

Pennsylvania’s 25 state prisons are in their seventh day of lockdown over concerns that powerful drugs are being sent into the facilities and getting staff sick.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Three priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have been placed on administrative leave in the wake of allegations that they sexually abused minors, the diocese announced Friday afternoon.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's governor said Friday he was against a proposal to compensate victims of child sexual abuse by priests through a church-established fund, saying that lawmakers instead should amend state law to let victims sue over decades-old events.

Katie Blackley

Bells tolled 737 times for more than an hour downtown this morning, in memory of those who died from a drug overdose last year.

Bishops Back Victim Fund Over Abuse Lawsuits In Pennsylvania

Aug 31, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Roman Catholic officials in Pennsylvania began lining up quickly and publicly with a key state legislative ally Thursday in backing the creation of a victims' compensation fund as an alternative to allowing victims in decades-old child sexual abuse cases to sue the church in court.

Marc Levy / AP

As Pennsylvania’s statewide prison lockdown enters its third day, officers and staff are busy with intense training sessions on how to safely handle the powerful, synthetic drugs that keep finding their way inside via mail and other measures.

Robert Ray / AP

The Washington Post's John Woodrow Cox joins Bucks County Democrat and state Rep. Helen Tai, who recently proposed a package of bills requiring the safe storage of firearms and the reporting of lost or stolen weapons by their owners, as well as penalties for those who fail to comply with the law.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel says he doesn’t know how long the state prison system will remain on lockdown. The department stopped all visits and most mail from going into all state prisons starting Wednesday, after 29 employees were sickened in recent weeks by exposure to smuggled drugs.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections unexpectedly locked down the entire state prison system after a sudden rash of illnesses among employees, thought to be caused by accidental exposure to synthetic drugs.

The move may be unprecedented in the commonwealth—though it’s not the only state grappling with illnesses related to unknown substances.  

The lockdown came the same day 29 people at an Ohio prison were treated for accidental drug exposure, and the same week five inmates in Arkansas died of suspected overdoses.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

David Zubik was installed as the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2007 after years serving at the right hand of his predecessor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who now serves as the Archbishop of Washington D.C. And it was at that time that he was privy to years of conversations and internal investigations outlined in the grand jury report released this month that detailed decades of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy across Pennsylvania.

Andrew Medichini / AP

Pennsylvania's attorney general is repeating his accusation that the Vatican was complicit in the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Sixty surveillance cameras have been installed in Oakland around the University of Pittsburgh campus and residential areas. The cameras are in part a response to the murder last year of Pitt student Alina Sheyket in her Oakland apartment, at the hands of her estranged ex-boyfriend.

Screengrab/YouTube/KDKA

It took 50 years, until the release of a landmark investigative report, for sisters Mary Robb Jackson and Cynthia Carr Gardner to realize that the parish priest in the Pittsburgh-area suburb where they lived as children had molested both of them, a couple of years apart.

The sisters' discovery — during a long-distance telephone conversation between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania — added theirs to the cases of siblings cited throughout the state grand jury report on the sexual abuse of children by clergy within six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

An encounter between a Pittsburgh Police officer and activist Leon Ford is under internal investigation. Ford, who was shot and paralyzed by Pittsburgh Police in 2012, described the past weekend's encounter in a Facebook post that's garnered more than 1,000 shares.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh police chief Scott Schubert has presided over a tough summer, fraught with tension between police and protestors. 

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The faithful are still reeling from revelations unearthed a 900-page Grand Jury report implicating 300 "predator priests" across six Pennsylvania dioceses, including 99 in Pittsburgh alone.

Virginia Alvino Young

Right inside the doorway of Courey and Andy Leer’s house in Wilkins Township, visitors are met with a golden cross, some palms, “and then we have a little Mary holy water holder,” said Courey, 31. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

A Pittsburgh grand jury has indicted a teenager allegedly involved in the drive-by shooting that preceded the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager fleeing a traffic stop.

In A Single Pennsylvania Parish, 5 Priests Accused Of Abuse

Aug 24, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

A lacerating grand jury report on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania is especially difficult reading for a church where five of the accused priests served as pastor.

Min Xian / WPSU

Magisterial District Judge Carmine Prestia has dismissed all involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges that the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office tried to reinstate against six defendants in the February 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza. 

Allegheny County DA's office via AP

Activists have called for prosecutors to investigate the stabbing of a 24-year-old black man outside a Pittsburgh bar as a hate crime after video emerged of the white suspect using a racial epithet.

Joden Rocco has been charged with homicide in the death of Dulane Cameron Jr. Police allege he had just been ejected from Tequila Cowboy around 2 a.m. Sunday when he started a confrontation with Cameron and Cameron's friend, who also is black, on a sidewalk. The men scuffled and police said Rocco stabbed Cameron in the neck and fled.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Roman Catholic pastor of a southwestern Pennsylvania parish has been removed from ministry after the local diocese received what it calls a credible allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor.

Wednesday's revelation by the Greensburg Diocese comes amid growing fallout from a state grand jury report that accused a succession of church leaders of covering up abuse by 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania since the 1940s.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Two months after fatally shooting 17-year-old Antwon Rose, East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, 30, did not appear for his formal arraignment Wednesday. At the brief session, court officials set the date for Rosfeld’s pretrial conference.

According to the district attorney's office, the pretrial conference is set for Sept. 11. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

A Roman Catholic high school will shed the name of Washington's archbishop after he was cited in a sweeping grand jury report as having allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated while he was Pittsburgh's bishop.

Pennsylvania Priest Faces Charges As Sex Abuse Fallout Grows

Aug 22, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A Roman Catholic priest was charged on Tuesday with groping a 17-year-old girl and sending her nude images of himself, just a week after a grand jury reported the church had covered up decades of child molestation by priests across the state.

Google

One month after an Avalon man was assaulted in a neighborhood bar, the community is looking for answers about the authority’s handling of the racially-fueled attack.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Former members of a Penn State fraternity are due in court for a preliminary hearing on charges related to the February 2017 death of a pledge after a night of hazing and drinking.

The hearing Tuesday before a district judge will determine if there's enough evidence to send charges against several of the defendants in the case to county court for trial. It could last several days.

It'll be the third preliminary hearing for the defendants and the fourth overall involving the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Matt Rourke / AP

Prosecutors say a hotline set up to get information on child sexual abuse by clergy within Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses has received more than 400 calls over the past six days.

Virginia Alvino-Young / 90.5 WESA

In the wake of a grand jury report released last week alleging the abuse of more than 1,000 children at the hands of Pennsylvania priests, abuse survivors want justice and reform.

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