Cris Barrish, senior reporter for The News Journal in Delaware, won the 2011 Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting for his coverage of a decade of failure by police, prosecutors, and medical authorities to make a case against a pediatrician considered one of the worst U.S. pedophiles. Dr. Earl Bradley has been charged with raping and sexually assaulting more than 103 children – all patients. Fellow doctors, a parent and his sister complained to authorities but no case was made until December 2009. Delaware initiated two investigations into how Bradley eluded prosecution for so many years and legislators approved nine bills reforming the system for investigating and disciplining doctors.
Barrish, 52, has been with the paper since 1981, writing about sports, politics, government corruption and criminal justice issues. Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Sun was named second place winner for a series of stories that showed Baltimore led the nation in the percentage of rape reports deemed “unfounded” by police. His work led to the opening of 52 new criminal rape investigations and has improved the way sexual assault cases are investigated. Third place went to John Diedrich of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for work that included stories on how federal laws allowed gun stores to operate even after they faced federal gun license revocation. The award is administered by the University of Colorado School of Journalism & Mass Communication.