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.

Will Other States Follow Pennsylvania On Church Abuse?

Aug 20, 2018
Hans Pennink / AP

Attorneys general around the U.S. have been largely silent this week about any plans to conduct an investigation like Pennsylvania's that uncovered widespread child sexual abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses, although New York's top prosecutor is an exception, saying she is exploring teaming up with the local district attorneys.

All of the pews in Saint Ursula's Parish outside of Pittsburgh were full for Saturday evening mass.

This would mark the first Saturday since the state attorney general released its grand jury report alleging the sexual abuse of minors by hundreds of priests in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

Vatican In 'Shame And Sorrow' Over Abuses In Pennsylvania

Aug 17, 2018
L'Osservatore Romano / AP

The Vatican expressed "shame and sorrow" Thursday over a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report about clergy who raped and molested children in six dioceses in that state, calling the abuse "criminally and morally reprehensible" and saying Pope Francis wants to eradicate "this tragic horror."

Pennsylvania State House Official Biography

The release of a state grand-jury report about child sexual abuse in the Catholic church has brought up painful stories of abuse, and demands for justice.

Andrew Rush / AP Images

The grand jury report on abuse within six Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania contains several dark allegations against the Diocese of Pittsburgh, including cover-ups and a child pornography ring within the jury. Altogether, 99 former clergy members are named as alleged abusers in the report.

'Weaponization Of Faith': Examples From Clergy Abuse Report

Aug 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A landmark grand jury report on clergy abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania detailed how priests often used religious rituals, symbols of the faith and the threat of eternity in hell to groom, molest and rape children.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it the "weaponization of faith."

Some of the examples cited in the report, released Tuesday, of how over 300 "predator priests," dating back to the 1940s, used the children's own religious faith and trust in them as religious leaders to victimize and silence them:

Church Sex Scandal: Abuse Victims Want A Full Reckoning

Aug 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania joined the list this week of those around the U.S. that have been forced to face the ugly truth about child-molesting priests in their ranks.

Matt Rourke / AP

A former Pennsylvania prosecutor has been fired from his job as an attorney for a county youth services office after a report showed that as prosecutor, he stopped an investigation into alleged child abuse by a priest to gain political favor from the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Kevin Wolf / AP

A top clergyman faulted in a Pennsylvania grand jury report over his handling of sexually abusive priests is asking parishioners not to lose confidence in the church.

Chris Gardner / AP

A new Catholic school in Baltimore will no longer feature the name of a late cardinal accused of failing to act in the case of priests who abused children in Pennsylvania.

PA Grand Jury Report On Clergy Child Sexual Abuse Is Public. What’s Next?

Aug 15, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

More than 300 “predator priests” allegedly sexually abused more than 1,000 victims in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses for decades, while bishops and other high-ranking church officials covered it up and urged victims not to go to the police.

Matt Rourke / AP

A new grand jury report released Tuesday details widespread sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses, alleging over 300 priests victimized more than 1,000 children over the past six decades, and that church officials took steps to conceal and protect abusive clergymen. 

Report Detailing Widespread Child Sexual Abuse By PA Catholic Clergy Released

Aug 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A long-awaited grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania was released Tuesday in an interim, redacted form — detailing decades of alleged misconduct and cover-ups in six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

Pennsylvania Catholic Church Abuse Report To Be Released Tuesday Afternoon

Aug 14, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Time is ticking down to a court-ordered deadline Tuesday afternoon to decide what information to black out in a forthcoming grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

Church Abuse Report, 2 Years In The Works, May Soon Be Released

Aug 13, 2018
Andrew Rush / AP

A damning report into allegations of decades of child sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members and efforts to cover it up in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses is expected to be released in the coming days.

The public disclosure of the findings, the result of an almost two-year grand jury investigation, has been delayed while some of the people named in the report have launched legal challenges, arguing the report is inaccurate and releasing it in its current form would violate their constitutional rights to their reputations and to due process of law.

Julio Cortez / AP

 

The release of a long-awaited grand jury report on sexual abuse by Pennsylvania’s Catholic clergy has been delayed once again.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor is establishing a group to "help coordinate and drive statewide equality efforts" regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order Monday creating the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs.

Wolf says the 40-person panel will take over efforts that had been done by a work group he set up shortly after taking office in 2015.

Andrew Medichini / AP

The Supreme Court is adding another job for the special master it appointed to help black out names and other identifying information from a grand jury report into child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania's Roman Catholic dioceses.

John Fetterman for Lt. Governor / via AP

The family of 17-year-old Antwon Rose has filed a federal lawsuit against the borough of East Pittsburgh, as well as its mayor, police chief and the officer who shot Rose.

Diocese IDs 71 Alleged Sex Abusers, Cites Bishops’ Failure

Aug 1, 2018
Brett Sholtis / WITF

A Roman Catholic diocese on Wednesday identified 71 priests and other members of the church who had been accused of child sex abuse and said it was holding accountable the bishops who led the church for the past 70 years, announcing their names will be stripped from all church properties.

Penn State Frat Member Gets House Arrest In Pledge Death Case

Jul 31, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

The first member of a Penn State University fraternity to plead guilty in connection with the death of a pledge last year after a night of drinking and hazing has been sentenced to three months' house arrest.

A judge on Tuesday announced the punishment for Ryan Burke for four counts of hazing and five alcohol violations.

The 21-year-old Scranton resident is among more than 20 members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity to face criminal charges over the February 2017 death of Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The name Aliquippa is ubiquitous in western Pennsylvania, if primarily for being the largest city in Beaver County. However, many may not know that the name comes from a powerful Native American woman -- Queen Aliquippa. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Sixty-nine charges were announced against a Johnstown pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting patients and members of his family starting in the 1980s and through this year. Similar charges were filed against 70-year-old Johnnie Barto in January, March and April.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said many of the assaults took place under the guise of medical treatment at Barto's Cambria County practice. Shapiro said sometimes parents were in the room, but Barto would position his body to block their view of the abuse.

TSA via AP

  State officials say they've successfully stopped a company that makes 3D downloadable guns from making them internet-accessible in Pennsylvania and from uploading new files. But the halt is temporary.

Julio Cortez / AP

The state Supreme Court has ordered  the release of a heavily redacted grand jury investigation into sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy in six of Pennsylvania's eight Catholic dioceses.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Protesters marched Downtown Friday, while criticizing city leaders for new protest policies that limit their abilities to block certain roads. 

Lawyers Criticize Prosecutor's Appeal To Pope In Abuse Probe

Jul 27, 2018
Gregorio Borgia / AP

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor claimed in a letter to Pope Francis that at least two leaders of the Catholic Church are trying to block the release of a grand jury report alleging child sexual abuse in six of the state's dioceses before asking him to intervene.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Criminal-justice reform advocates kicked off a “Campaign for Smart Justice” in Allegheny County this week, with the goal of reducing mass incarceration. Led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the campaign aims to engage local activists and organizations in promoting what it calls “smart justice” policies.

Board Recommends Bill Cosby Be Found A Sexually Violent Predator

Jul 26, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

A Pennsylvania board recommended Bill Cosby be classified as a sexually violent predator, which would require the former TV star to attend at least monthly sex offender counseling — in prison and out — and police to post warning flyers throughout his neighborhood whenever he is freed.

It is now up to a judge to decide whether to accept the finding by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board.

The district attorney's office that prosecuted Cosby asked a judge Tuesday to schedule a hearing in the matter. No date was immediately set.

Prisons Are Looking To Tablets And Tech To Inspire Orderliness Among Inmates

Jul 25, 2018
Charles Krupa / AP

Allowing inmates to stare at computer tablet screens for hours each day may be just the ticket for creating calm, orderly cellblocks, prison officials say.

But tablets, growing in popularity in prisons nationwide, also can help inmates advance their education, connect with family and prepare them for life in the technology-saturated outside world, officials say.

Pages