Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Reporting on horrific child sex abuse case reveals systemic failures


AP investigative reporter Mike Rezendes reported exclusively about a civilian U.S. Army employee who led a child sex ring, victimized his own son and put national security at risk, all while the State of Arizona and the Department of Defense missed signs of his criminal behavior.

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Ryan Frodsham is shown in Tucson, Ariz., in a Feb. 7, 2022 photo provided by attorney Lynne Cadigan. In an interview Frodsham said his adoptive father, David Frodsham, began sexually abusing him when he was 9 or 10 years old, and that the abuse continued into his teens, when David Frodsham began offering his son’s sexual services to other men. “Makes me throw up thinking about it,” Ryan said. – Lynne Cadigan via AP

Rezendes was reporting a separate story in Arizona when a source told him about the case of a man who used his own adopted son in a child sex abuse ring. It seemed like a local story at first, but Rezendes poked around and found that complaints had been filed against David Frodsham, the man at the center of the abuse ring, for years — both in the State of Arizona and the U.S. Army. The state still allowed him to foster several children and adopt at least two of them, while the military failed to discipline him and kept him in sensitive management jobs, even though his behavior made him a national security risk.

Rezendes’ deep experience covering child sex abuse cases earned him the trust of the police, lawyers, parents and victims, all of whom talked with him for the story, revealing systemic failures far beyond the horrific criminal case.

The piece broke through with heavy customer usage and strong reader numbers on AP News.

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