Best of AP — Honorable Mention


A year after AP report, charges against former Mississippi priest


New York investigative reporter Mike Rezendes followed up with the latest developments from his 2019 reporting that uncovered sexual assault by clergy, settled on the cheap in rural Missisippi. That reporting has now prompted sexual assault charges against a former Catholic priest.

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Jarvis D. Love, left, and his cousin, Joshua Love, pose at their homes in Mississippi, June 2019. The men have accused Paul A. West, once a Franciscan friar and fourth-grade teacher, of molesting them in Mississippi, Wisconsin and New York while they were elementary school students. – AP Photos / Wong Maye-E

A year ago,Rezendes,photographer Maye-E Wong,video journalist Sarah Blake Morgan and researcher Randy Herschaft unraveled the case of a former Franciscan friar accused of sexually assaulting three impoverished Black boys.

Spurred by this reporting,Mississippi authorities convened a grand jury that handed up sexual battery charges and had the man extradited from Wisconsin. Without the original work of Rezendes and his AP colleagues,there would have been no criminal case.

Said La Jarvis Love, one of the men who told his story to AP: “I’m happy that me saying something got something done.”

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In Greenwood, Miss., June 10, 2019, Joshua Love, 36, holds a photograph of himself taken at about the time he says he and his cousin were sexually abused at St. Francis of Assisi School by two Franciscan friars, Brother Paul A. West and the late Brother Donald Lucas. – AP Photo / Wong Maye-E
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