NECIR child fatality stories win Publick Occurrences award

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting will be honored with a prestigious 2014 “Publick Occurrences” award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, NECIR Executive Director Joe Bergantino announced Sept. 12.

Melvin Hooks stands in front of his daughter's grave.

Sudden infant death: Agency-linked babies more at risk

Children in homes supervised by state social workers die suddenly and unexpectedly at least twice the rate of infants statewide, according to an analysis of the most recent available data by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. That suggests to child welfare advocates that more should be done to educate caretakers of some of the state’s most vulnerable children about how to minimize the risk of sudden death.


Convicted murderer let free after judge overturns verdict

In June of 2010, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting brought to light several flaws in the police investigation leading to Rosario’s conviction. Rosario was set free on bail Thursday after a judge overturned his conviction.

City, activists meet to fight sex trafficking

The City of Boston will not tolerate the buying and selling of human beings. That’s what Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Tuesday at a conference on sex trafficking attended by scores of activists, law enforcement, judges, philanthropists and survivors of the booming sex industry.

Higher fines for men charged with seeking sex in Boston

Three men charged with seeking to buy sex from what they thought were prostitutes in Boston have paid  $1,000 fines – forking over some of the highest penalties to date for such crimes in the state, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced this week. The news comes several months after the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that despite a tough 2012 law meant to curb the demand for sex trafficking in part through stiffer fines, not one of the 11 District Attorney’s offices in the state could cite a case where so-called “Johns” were charged even a minimum mandatory $1,000 fine for attempting to buy sex. Jake Wark, spokesman for District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said these three cases represent increased efforts to hold men accountable for their participation in the US sex trade. Last fall, Wark told NECIR that the District Attorney’s office would press to increase penalties for sex buyers. The District Attorney’s Office also is pushing the legislature to create a statewide so-called “john school” for first-time offenders – to help dissuade men from participating in the often violent sex trade industry, which can victimize both girls and women.