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AP: Priests accused of abuse have access to children, dozens commit crimes

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As the ranks of dioceses promising to release lists of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse began to mushroom at the beginning of this year,Philadelphia reporter Claudia Lauer and Washington-based data editor Meghan Hoyer started to strategize: How could they leverage the information on a scale never before accomplished?

The hurdles were high: Many of the released lists were lacking in basic information,and the priests had scattered around the U.S. and beyond,living almost entirely under the radar.

After months of systematic,dogged work,the result was “Where Are They Now,” a blockbuster investigation that found almost 1,700 priests and other clergy members living with little to no oversight,many with positions giving them access to children. Dozens have committed crimes,including sexual assault.

The story received exceptional play online and in print,and AP Managing Editor Brian Carovillano called it,“One of the most monumental pieces of AP journalism in my memory.”

For more on this groundbreaking investigation which also received this week’s Best of the States award, see the full citation here.

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