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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "religion" ...

  • Silent No More

    The Hearst Television National Investigative Unit’s year-long investigation, ‘Silent No More,’ uncovered new allegations of child sexual abuse and decades-long cover-ups inside a religious organization in the United States. We also learned investigators from Attorneys General offices in at least three states have been looking into the Jehovah’s Witnesses church – and that the number has likely grown since our four-part series aired in August and September of 2019. Perhaps most importantly, the survivors who agreed to speak on-camera for this series told us they now have a new sense of empowerment; one launched a non-profit, a few testified before state legislatures, several obtained attorneys, and all told us of the confidence they gained after being silent for so long.
  • Unsolved: The Devil You Know

    The body of Fr. Alfred Kunz, his throat slit, was found on the floor of St. Michael School in Dane, Wisconsin, on March 4, 1998. Twenty years later, the murder remains unsolved. Kunz was a conservative cleric and exorcist who clung to the Latin Mass and preached of a vengeful God. Some believed his death was linked to his battle against evil. Others believed his all-too-human flaws were to blame. The murder has never been solved, largely because police spent decades going after the wrong man, teacher Brian Jackson, our investigation found. Police never impounded Jackson’s car or searched it for trace evidence. Within hours of the murder, he was able to drive it out of the school parking lot. One detective who worked on the case for years, Kevin Hughes, set his sights on Jackson and refused to glance in any other direction. Ten years ago, Hughes’ lieutenant told reporters police knew who the killer was, but that the district attorney wouldn’t charge him. Their attempts to build a case against Jackson rather than remaining open to other theories may have allowed valuable clues to go unnoticed, the sheriff acknowledged during Barton’s investigation that became Unsolved: The Devil You Know. After about two years, the investigation stalled. Continuity disappeared as the sheriff’s department assigned new detectives to the case every few years. Over the past two decades, five different people have served as lead investigator. The case file consists of thousands of pages — and counting — snapped into 40 three-ring binders. The sheriff can’t name anyone working for the department today who has read them all.
  • AP: China Clamps Down

    This AP series revealed the extent of China’s suppression of largely Muslim ethnic groups in a remote region and how it fits into a growing clampdown on individual freedom and privacy across the country.
  • When a 14-Year-Old Chooses to Die Because of Religion, Can Anyone Stop Him?

    KUOW online editor Isolde Raftery reported and wrote a devastating, nuanced account of how a Jehovah’s Witness teen, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, was allowed to refuse blood transfusions, a decision that ultimately cost him his life. Washington is believed to be the first state where a child has died after being allowed to refuse lifesaving care.
  • Hunting Boko Haram

    FRONTLINE investigates Nigeria's efforts to "Bring Back Our Girls" and fight Boko Haram.
  • River Road Fellowship

    An investigation into a religious cult called the River Road Fellowship, led by Victor Barnard. Our investigation revealed allegations from two women who say they were sexually abused by Barnard beginning when they were 12 years old, with the knowledge and consent of their parents. Our investigation revealed how prosecutors ignored evidence and allowed Victor Barnard to flee Minnesota for Washington. Our story led the Pine County Sheriff's Department to re-open the investigation and the Pine County Attorney to produce a 52 count indictment. Victor Barnard remains a fugitive.
  • Heartland, Missouri

    This entry is special long-form audio story about a place in Northeast Missouri called Heartland. It’s a story with threads of religion, law, business, and morality that all end in a knot, in the middle of a cornfield. Heartland is a Christian community with businesses, a recovery center, a school, and a huge cattle and dairy operation all owned and funded by a man named Charles Sharpe. Heartland is praised by many in the community for their beneficial work, but is questioned by others for its use of corporal punishment on children and its secrecy. We investigated Heartland and found it's founder is a major political donor in the state of Missouri and that the laws protecting Heartland from state inspection may have been influenced by Sharpe and his lobbyists.
  • Newark Archdiocese priest scandals

    More than a decade after the nation's Roman Catholic bishops pledged at a landmark gathering in Dallas to remove sexually abusive priests and to usher in a new era of transparency, The Star-Ledger found the promise rings hollow in the Archdiocese of Newark. Over seven months, Star-Ledger reporter Mark Mueller wrote more than two dozen front-page stories showing how Archbishop John J. Myers, and to a lesser extent Trenton Bishop David O'Connell, mishandled abusive priests. The coverage led to national headlines and decisive action, including the appointment of a co-archbishop in Newark, the sacking of the vicar general (second in command of the archdiocese), the arrest of a priest, the suspension of another and the reassignment of three pastors.
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

    An investigation of the history and practices of the Church of Scientology. IRE Award Judges’ comments: Wright's investigation of the Church of Scientology is groundbreaking in its examination of one of the most well-known, but secretive religion organizations in the world. He draws on previously secret documents-- including internal works of the church's founder L. Ron Hubbard--interviews with former and current members of the church and hundreds of court records to present a hard- hitting, but balanced view of church and its followers. The book shines a light on the church's harsh treatment of those who try to leave, but also highlights those, including some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, who have benefited from its teachings. The book also explores the complicated biography of the church's founder and its relationship with its most famous member, actor Tom Cruise. Despite threats from the church, which is known of its aggressive defense of of its works and members, this work provides the best understanding of Scientology to date.
  • Betrayed by Silence

    Through the fall and winter of 2013, MPR News delivered a powerful collection of investigative radio stories that exposed how leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis were continuing to cover-up the sexual abuse of children by priests. We found the archdiocese had hidden the names of abusive priests for decades, provided secret payments to pedophiles, and failed to report possible child pornography on a priest’s computer to police or warn parishioners of another priest’s sexual addiction. We exposed how two priests had secretly confessed to sexually abusing children decades ago –one was teaching sex education to troubled teenagers and the other was living half a block from a school. Our investigation peeled back the layers of false promises by leaders who had guided the national response to the clergy abuse scandal a decade earlier – and showed that children remained at risk.