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.

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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.

Courtesy of Danseur

Dance studios across the United States are brimming with bunheads dreaming of crossing the stage at Lincoln Center, but guests would be hard pressed to find any boys among them. 

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund is one step closer to investing in affordable housing. A preliminary plan for 2018 spending was approved Thursday.


When Ray Santori was 10, his mother died. His father had died the year before, so an aunt and uncle near Pittsburgh took him in.

Not long after that at Saint Bernadette Church in Monroeville, Pa., Santori met Father William Yockey, who according to the recent grand jury report, sexually assaulted him for about two years.

Prisons Say Changes After Staff Sickened Costing About $15M

Sep 6, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

The head of Pennsylvania's prison system said Thursday it is costing the state about $15 million to implement new procedures to combat drug smuggling believed to have caused dozens of staff to become sick in recent weeks.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said the 25 prisons are on track to resume normal operations next week.

About 50 guards and other employees have reported symptoms since the start of August that are thought to have been caused by exposure to a clear, odorless substance known as synthetic marijuana, or K-2.

Marc Levy / AP

Over half of Pennsylvania’s state prisoners end up back behind bars within five years of their release, according to official data. But the state is now participating in a study on how to bring that number down.

Diocese of Greensburg / Facebook

The former bishop of the Greensburg Diocese, Anthony Bosco, has been accused of abuse in the wake of a grand jury report about six dioceses in Pennsylvania

Jacqueline Larma / AP

The Pennsylvania prison system is putting in place new policies on mail handling, visits and detection of drones after a month in which about 50 staff reported symptoms that may have been caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.

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.

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