After detectives in Baltimore County, Maryland, exceptionally cleared the case of a child sexual predator, claiming success without arresting him, the same man went on to lure underaged girls in two other states. We pick apart the police investigation and reveal crucial flaws in the FBI’s new crime reporting system, which the FBI later called a “crisis” and took emergency action to fix.
This is part two of the video segment of our Case Cleared investigation, published by Newsy.
Our yearlong investigation reveals how many of the nation’s largest police agencies inflate their clearance rates for the crime of rape using a little-known designation called “exceptional clearance,” which allows them to claim success in investigations without arresting suspects. FBI guidance and experts say the designation is supposed to be used sparingly, but we found dozens of police agencies that clear more crimes exceptionally than by arrest.
This is part one of the video segment of Case Cleared, published by Newsy.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office finally processed nearly 1,000 rape kits that sat on its shelves for years, yet despite dozens of new leads on suspects, deputies have not arrested or even interviewed a single one. Instead, they declined to pursue dozens of cases in which DNA identified a new suspect, saying that the victims had been uncooperative years earlier. Meanwhile, many of the suspects went on to get arrested for other sexual assaults.
A year after reporting the lowest ratio of women athletes in the country among NCAA Division-I schools, Florida Atlantic University counted on its federal gender equity report nearly five dozen women’s track athletes who don’t exist. FAU claimed it had 98 women on its track team, but the roster lists 43, and the team photo shows only 38. FAU called this and other incorrect numbers on the report a “clerical error.”
Two years after Tyler Miller reported being sexually assaulted and harassed by four of his high school basketball teammates, the school district still won’t disclose to him or his family the outcome of its investigation, citing student privacy laws. After Miller and his sibling transferred to another school in the district, the four boys continued harassing him, he said, yet the district didn’t stop them from playing games against him and his new team.
The University of Oregon says its policy is not to notify coaches if their student-athletes are accused of sexual assault, so as not to risk "tainting investigations." But Dana Altman's phone records show he interfered in Kavell Bigby-Williams' rape case from the beginning, making a flurry of phone calls to the player’s former coach and a school Title IX official, within hours of learning about the case.. This is a follow-up to my previous reporting for Sports Illustrated.
Winner of 2017 Hearst Award for enterprise reporting
Upon learning police were investigating an Oregon basketball player for rape, university officials failed to investigate the complaint, violating school policies and Title IX guidelines. Officials claimed they had “insufficient information” to take action, yet documents show they had copies of the graphic police report, text messages and photos of injuries to the victim. Instead, the player played the entire season for Oregon, including in the Final Four.
More than 99 percent of routine restaurant inspections in San Diego County result in 'A' letter grades, even when inspectors find up 10 violations, including severe health hazards, I discovered from scraping the county’s restaurant inspection database. An analysis of other jurisdictions’ inspection systems showed it was far easier to achieve an 'A' grade in San Diego than elsewhere.
Despite accounting for no more than 2 percent of the population, homeless people in Eugene, Oregon, received more than one-third of all tickets for non-traffic crimes in 2016, my analysis of Eugene Municipal Court data reveals. Records show police repeatedly ticketed certain individuals for nonviolent offenses disproportionately committed by people without homes, including sleeping on private property, illegal camping, and drinking on unlicensed premises.
Winner of 2016 IRE Award for student investigative reporting
My first-ever investigation revealed a string of violent acts by the Oregon football team’s star tight end, including choking his girlfriend and instigating locker-room fights with two teammates, one of whom he concussed with a punch to the head. Neither the team, school or police took any action against the player, instead reprimanding his victims. Despite the athletic department’s threats to revoke my newspaper’s credentials during my reporting, I managed to get seven football players, the player’s girlfriend and a campus police sergeant to go on record.