Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "criminal history" ...

  • Pennsylvania police fail to fingerprint thousands of suspected criminals

    In violation of state law, police in Pennsylvania fail to fingerprint thousands of suspected criminals within 48 hours of arrest. Instead, they routinely rely on judges and jailers – and often the offenders themselves – to capture the prints they’ve missed. For 2013, 30,000 fingerprints were not recorded, according to state data. If a fingerprint is not made, a defendant will not have a complete criminal history at the state and national level. This means background checks will fail to raise warnings for dangerous offenders. We analyzed raw data from the state to find the areas with the worst compliance and contacted those with the best compliance to examine possible solutions.
  • The Hansen Files: Daycare Criminals

    Childcare advocates claim that inadequate state laws have made it easy for people with criminal convictions to get licensed to care for children—often with deadly consequences. Their evidence was often anecdotal--ripped from headlines of children dying in the care of someone whose past wasn't revealed until after the child had been harmed. When we looked into the problem we soon discovered that even when a criminal history disqualifies a potential candidate from childcare, states often grant licenses nonetheless. Parents not only aren’t informed of this, but some states actively conceal this information. And we found there are no existing databases that report caregivers’ criminal records or the results of background checks, so we set out to compile our own. The creation of that database then led us to an extensive, year-long data search in five states, from original arrest reports and police narratives to jail records, court records, state licensing files, exemption reports, inspection records and more. These records helped us unravel the many ways people with criminal records were able to get licensed. We then visited several centers and conducted an experiment in one state, submitting applications for childcare background checks for three women--all of them convicted murderers.
  • The Other Side of Mercy

    "On Nov. 29, 2009, Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers in a Pierce County coffee shop, committing one of the worst crimes in the history of the Pacific Northwest. "The Other Side of Mercy" chronicles Clemmons' criminal history, exposing a variety of system breakdowns that set the stage for this shocking ambush."
  • Gangs in the Military

    Gang activity in the military is on the rise. This "coincides with the increase in military recruits with a criminal history. Since 2003, in order to meet recruitment goal, 125,000 recruits with criminal backgrounds have been granted waiver for felonies, including robbery and assault, so they can join up."
  • The Notification Gap

    Although there are only, roughly, a 100 sex offenders registered in Minnesota, the KSTP investigation found over 200 Minnesota residents that were not registered as sex offenders, though they should have been. Notification will only happen when the offender's conviction occurs at a Minnesota court, which is why some offenders choose to move to Minnesota so their neighbors will not be made aware of their criminal history.
  • Crisis in the Courts

    Walsh's story focuses on a faulty criminal history database. Maine's criminal records system is in complete disrepair, and actually causes more harm than good. Judges and prosecutors find the system so unorganized, they don't know if a defendant has committed any prior crimes in the state. This results in bails set too low and sentences that are too lenient.
  • Runaway Priests: Hiding in Plain Sight

    For more than a year, reporters at the Dallas Morning News have been on a global trek in an attempt to track down a number of Catholic priests accused of sexally abusing or molesting children. This investigation looks at how priests accused of sexual assault often flee the country to take up new parishes, sometimes even with the help of Catholic church officials. In most cases, these priests are once again exposed to prolonged contact with young children, despite their criminal history. As a result of this series, the Samoan government deported one priest who arrived there after facing criminal charges in Australia, where he was later arrested.
  • Slippery Sidewalk Syndrome

    Action News discovered and exposed a suspicious string of lawsuits. Attorney Richard Farber has been bringing slip and fall suits against hundreds of homeowners in Philadelphia. The suspicious element here is his clients' backgrounds. More than half of his clients have criminal histories and almost all of them claim to live in the same 10-block area in Frankford. None of the alleged victims fell in their immediate neighborhood but in another section of town, miles away and many have fallen more than once. In almost every case, there were no witnesses and most of the clients went to the same chiropractor's office for treatment. The attorney refuses to comment. This type of fraud serves as one of the reasons homeowners' insurance in the "City of Brotherly Love" is expensive when compared to other cities in the country.
  • Second Chance: Only after recruiter's death did colleagues learn of his past.

    This story explains how a Lucent Technologies executive's criminal history was not uncovered until he died. According to the author, "A routine audit by Lucent after Mr. (James) Baughman died disclosed discrepancies in a contract he had struck with an employee-search firm, resulting in a multi-million-dollar billing dispute." Baughman also forged a Stanford University transcript.
  • Blurring the lines

    Education Weeks looks at Hillsborough County, Florida, which has "forged one of the nation's coziest school-police partnerships in a place where once turf-conscious agencies now stay in close touch."