Illuminating Journalism from American Public Media
Madeleine Baran is an investigative reporter for APM Reports and the host and lead reporter of the podcast In the Dark. Baran's work focuses on holding powerful people and institutions accountable. Her reporting has exposed flaws in law enforcement investigations, forensic science, state-run mental health institutions and other areas. In 2013 and 2014, Baran exposed a decades-long cover-up of clergy sexual abuse in the Twin Cities archdiocese. Her reporting led to the resignation of the archbishop, criminal charges against the archdiocese, and lawsuits by victims of clergy sex abuse. In 2015, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy. Baran's reporting has also appeared on NPR and has been cited by the New York Times. Baran has received numerous national awards for her reporting, including an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, regarded as the Pulitzer Prize of broadcasting, a George Foster Peabody Award, a Gracie Award, and two national Sigma Delta Chi awards. Baran received her master's degree in Journalism and French Studies from New York University.
For decades, leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been reassigning, excusing and overlooking sexually abusive priests among their ranks. Some received additional retirement benefits. In August, a top church lawyer, shocked at what she saw, brought the story to MPR News.
They don't happen often, but when they do, child abductions by strangers can capture Americans' attention like few other crimes. A look at notorious kidnappings over the past century and a half shows how attitudes have changed.
The number of people on the nation's sex-offender registries has exploded to hundreds of thousands. But researchers question the registries' effectiveness, note their inconsistencies and suggest they might be doing more harm than good. Even Patty Wetterling has changed her views.
Early on, investigators circulated a number of police sketches, hoping they would generate better leads in Jacob Wetterling's abduction. But sketches can be tricky and lead potential witnesses down the wrong path.
Wetterling investigators used hypnosis to prod memories, but some experts fear the process can cause people to remember things that didn't happen. So while it may help investigations, courts have been wary to accept it as evidence.
DNA profiling has grown up since the Wetterling abduction, becoming both more powerful and, sometimes, as much art as science. It played an important role in shaping the case against the man who led authorities to Jacob's remains.
A judge on Wednesday found probable cause for a criminal complaint on child porn charges against Daniel Heinrich, the man identified as a person of interest in the 1989 abduction of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling.
Attorney Jeff Anderson asked jurors in Ramsey County Wednesday to award $11.7 million to a man who says he was sexually abused by a priest in the Diocese of Duluth when he was a teenager in the late 1970s.
Rev. Gerald Dvorak, who went on a leave of absence in May because of an allegation that he sexually abused a child in the 1970s, will return to ministry after a review found the allegation to be "not substantiated," Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a statement Wednesday.