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MU’s Office of Student Conduct handles few sex offense cases

I’m enormously surprised and gratified by the impact of my story last month on sex offense reports at the University of Missouri. From the article’s syndication in the Associated Press, to the MU police department’s change in how it publicly address sex offenses, to my stint as a panelist on NPR, this story has garnered far more attention than any of my other investigations, and I’m still preening.

Hundreds of readers shared it on social media, making it the Missourian’s most-read story that month. I think that shows how much this issue – the lack of reports, and, subsequently, prosecutions, of sex offenses – touches a nerve and affects so many people. The most touching feedback came from a victim and a university official, who both told me how how my reporting elucidated problems they had personally experienced.

Besides the subject matter, this article was difficult due to the astonishing amount of pushback my editor and I received from university officials. I’m happy to say that after its publication, we’ve had no corrections or blowback from those officials. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, edited, supported, shared or critiqued!

Ryan Ferguson continues quest for freedom

These six court documents explain each side’s argument in the contentious Ryan Ferguson murder case. I’d suggest starting with Ferguson’s habeas corpus petition, filed in January 2013.

“Neglect” a threat for Missouri State Penitentiary

I’ve been following the triumphs and troubles of the Missouri State Penitentiary since I did an extensive investigation on it a year ago. At first I was cheered to see the tourism board implementing a few of the funding solutions I had come across in my reporting. (Not that I believe that had anything to do with my reporting, obviously, I just think it shows that I managed to hit upon some truths.) Now, unfortunately, it looks like MSP is shutting down due to mold problems. The deterioration continues apace. I’m re-linking to my radio series here, which was broadcast on KBIA in May of 2012, and is sadly still relevant today:

“Neglect” a threat for Missouri State Penitentiary

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The oldest state prison west of the Mississippi sits dilapidated and crumbling in Jefferson City, Missouri. Despite its value as a tourist destination and historic landmark, the Missouri State Penitentiary might deteriorate to the point of shutting down permanently. Listen to the story on KBIA.org»

prison_wideshot Hear a former inmate’s story
One man’s historic building is another’s nightmarish living conditions. Former MSP inmate Joshua Kezer talks about what it was like to be incarcerated for 10 years in one of the oldest prisons in the U.S. Listen to the story on KBIA.org»
Other ancient prisons
The Missouri State Penitentiary is one of the oldest prisons in the country, but there are even older ones that survived both centuries of inmates and decades of decay. Learn about the variety of funding sources other groups came up with to keep other ancient prisons intact.