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.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

The Catholic Diocese of Erie launched its victims’ compensation fund Friday for people who were sexually abused by clergy and others associated with the church. Plans for the fund were announced in December.

The Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program will be open until August 15, 2019, and the website to file claims is now live.

Penn State Trustees Group Challenges 2012 Sandusky Report

Feb 13, 2019
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A small group of Penn State board members that includes longtime defenders of famed football coach Joe Paterno is challenging as unreliable a 2012 university-commissioned investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

In a 109-page report, five current and two former alumni-elected trustees said their review of a trove of documents found that the school-funded private investigation was tainted by improper contacts with the university, the NCAA and state and federal law enforcement.

Carolyn Kaster

AccuWeather has agreed to pay $290,000 after a federal oversight agency found the company subjected female workers to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

AccuWeather's former CEO Barry Myers is President Donald Trump's nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Centre Daily Times reports the conciliation agreement was published in June after an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Dave Klug / AP

The man accused of opening fire at the Tree of Life synagogue pleaded “not guilty” Monday to new allegations stemming from the October attack. Robert Bowers, of Baldwin, was arraigned for a second time after a federal grand jury charged him in January with 19 additional hate crimes and firearms-related offenses.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation / via AP

A truck driver accused of killing 11 people and wounding seven during an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in October is expected to appear Monday morning in a federal courtroom to be arraigned on additional charges.

The hearing in Robert Bowers' case is expected to be short and involves giving him formal notice of the criminal charges issued in a new indictment.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Some Pittsburgh Public Schools students were turned away for rides by Port Authority bus drivers last month, after a mix-up involving their student ID cards which also function as transit passes.

Micahel Rubinkam / AP

Pennsylvania state police are adopting a new policy to govern troopers' interactions with foreign nationals.

The procedures, in the works for nearly two years, were adopted after criticism that officers were acting as an informal arm of immigration enforcement.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Dr. Leonard Moore, vice president for diversity and community engagement and George Littlefield professor of American history at the University of Texas at Austin, teaches classes about the evolution of black politics and power throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Millions of dollars to support the Jewish community have been donated since October’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Across PA, Feds Detain Undocumented Immigrants At Unrelated Court Hearings

Jan 30, 2019
Chris Carlson / AP

Federal immigration officers made arrests in and around courthouses in nearly one-fifth of Pennsylvania's counties since 2017, according to a report published by Temple University Law School's Sheller Center for Social Justice. 

Hate Crimes Charged In Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Case

Jan 29, 2019
Dave Klug / AP

A man accused of opening fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, killing 11 people and wounding seven others, now faces additional counts that include allegations of hate crimes. 

Judge Who Led Grand Jury Abuse Reports 'Would Be Huge'

Jan 26, 2019
Julio Cortez / AP

Judge Norman Krumenacker III recalls Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro asking him what kind of attention the statewide investigation into allegations of abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church would bring.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The trial for Michael Rosfeld, who is accused of shooting and killing Antwon Rose in June, has been postponed until March 19. 

Kelli Freeman

A leader, an old soul and a “laid-back kid” are how Jonathan Freeman’s family remembers him. The 16-year-old was fatally shot at a friend’s house in Homewood earlier this month. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Survivors of clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh can now apply for compensation. A website for the voluntary program where claims can be submitted went live Tuesday.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

The jury for East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld’s trial will come from Dauphin County.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

If it continues until March, the partial government shutdown could have a big impact on Allegheny County’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly called Section 8.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A crowd of people filled the block in front of the City-County Building, as well as the parking lot across from it on Saturday for the third annual Women's March. 

New Attorneys General To Continue Investigating Clergy Abuse

Jan 18, 2019
Matt Rourke / AP

Newly inaugurated state attorneys general said they plan to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims reach out to state hotlines and online systems to report past abuse.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

In light of the #MeToo movement, a new initiative in western Pennsylvania will offer free and confidential services for students and low-wage workers facing sexual harassment and assault.

While there has been a lot of attention given to high-profile cases, sexual harassment is pervasive in workplaces, K-12 schools and colleges, according to the Women’s Law Project, which launched #MeTooPA to help individuals who are traditionally underserved by the legal system.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

The mother of Trayvon Martin, whose 2012 death was a key moment in the Black Lives Matter movement, said there were unsettling parallels between the killing of her son and that of black Rankin teen Antwon Rose.


Sala Udin has been a political activist for more than 50 years. He marched on Washington, was a freedom rider and eventually took up a career in politics, serving first as a city councilman and today as a Pittsburgh Public Schools board member. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

There were 55 homicide deaths in Pittsburgh last year, most due to gun violence. Despite the Tree of Life shooting in October, in which 11 people were killed by one gunman, homicide deaths dropped for the fourth year in a row.

Allegheny County District Attorney / AP

A judge ordered Monday that a jury be selected from another county for the trial of a western Pennsylvania police officer accused in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager last year.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Some of the police officers who responded to the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people were honored at a religious ceremony.

They attended a community-wide meal Saturday night at the Beth Shalom synagogue. Three of the officers suffered injuries in the shooting.

A commander who was supposed to be off on Oct. 27 recounted racing to the scene at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

Richard Vogel / AP

Some local feminist activists say a fundraiser to bring a large balloon depicting President Trump as a baby to Pittsburgh's Women's March reveals a larger division between feminists in the city.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh led more than 120 security trainings in the year leading up to the deadly mass shooting at Tree of Life in October, including an active shooter drill at the synagogue just weeks before.

Frank Franklin II / AP

A Roman Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys and making one of them say confession after the assaults is set to be sentenced in Pennsylvania court.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Criminal charges were dismissed Thursday against a Wilkinsburg woman whose confrontation with a North Versailles police officer went viral.

Penn State Frat Death Case Continues, But Whittled Down

Jan 10, 2019
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A string of guilty pleas has left just five defendants still fighting charges in the hazing-related death of a pledge at a Penn State fraternity two years ago, a case whittled down as prosecutors were unable to get the most serious counts to stick.