A Cleveland judge ordered the arrest of a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Tuesday after he failed to appear at an abruptly scheduled hearing to determine how the newspaper obtained a psychiatric evaluation of serial-killing suspect Anthony Sowell. The Plain Dealer said the hearing came more than four months after reporter Gabriel Baird based a story on the 2005 evaluation, which concluded that Sowell was unlikely to assault women after he served 15 years in prison for attempted rape. The medical report contained details of Sowell’s childhood and the years he spent in prison after being convicted of sexual assault in 1989.
Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg said Baird’s source is protected from disclosure. “The report evaluating Mr. Sowell was shown to our reporter after our reporter agreed to keep the source of the report confidential,” Goldberg said. “That information is protected under Ohio’s shield law, which protects reporters from having to reveal their sources. This story was printed just days after police discovered the bodies of 11 women in and around Sowell’s home, and it was the first window the public had into trying to understand the life and experiences of the person being held on charges of committing the worst crime in Cleveland in more than 75 years.”