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"Still Failing the Frail" is a follow-up to PennLive’s 2016 IRE-award winning series, "Failing the Frail." That six-part series explored major problems in Pennsylvania’s nursing home industry, spurred in part by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s 2015 lawsuit against Golden Living. In 2018, the lead reporter of that series, Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, wanted to determine what, if any, progress had been made in Pennsylvania’s nursing home sector since the 2015 lawsuit and PennLive’s 2016 series.
In August 2018, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report outlining the alleged abuse of hundreds of children at the hands of priests in several Roman Catholic Dioceses across Pennsylvania. Investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol began immediately sifting through the report to find out where the men outlined in the report were today and what they were doing. The most shocking case he uncovered was that of an accused priest from the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese who was a practicing counselor just across the state line in Ohio.
In a series of investigative articles, The Philadelphia Inquirer raised major questions about the performance of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. At the same time, the paper probed a related scandal involving misconduct at the state Supreme Court, whose justices Kane accused of swapping offensive emails on state computers—messages laden with pornography and misogynistic, homophobic and racist jokes. Unlike most entries in this contest, the newspaper’s work on this investigation has played out over more than a year in a saga that has gathered more and more momentum.
The Philadelphia Inquirer triggered arrests, legislative reforms, ethics investigations, resignations – and political turmoil statewide – after the newspaper revealed that Pennsylvania’s attorney general had secretly shut down an undercover investigation that had caught public officials on tape taking money or gifts. In late 2013, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane secretly shut down a sting operation that had captured officials on tape accepting cash from an operative posing as a lobbyist ostensibly seeking political influence and government contracts. Her decision was kept from the public – restricted under court seal – for months until Inquirer reporters Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis broke the story. Their initial package sparked a statewide furor – and set the stage for months of additional investigative pieces and news developments.