Data support from Fund grant helps uncover sexual assault cases in Utah’s health care system

Andrew, who is identified by a pseudonym to protect his privacy, said he was sexually abused by a therapist he was seeing to address his struggles with being both gay and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Objects in this image have been darkened and blurred to protect Andrew’s identity.) (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune)

As part of an ongoing investigation of sexual abuse in health care settings in Utah, reporter Jessica Miller of the Salt Lake Tribune found that Utah licensors allowed a therapist to continue practicing after sex abuse allegations. The therapist had built a reputation as someone who could help gay members of the Mormon church. But at least four patients allege they were sexually abused by him under the guise of therapy. Those reports eventually led licensors to find the therapist inappropriately touched multiple clients. The story came about after the Tribune asked community members to share their experiences with health care providers. A grant from the Fund helped the newspaper hire a freelance data reporter to scrape and analyze licensing records. His work led the newspaper to focus on therapy-related fields, where the data showed a high number of sexual misconduct disciplinary reports. The investigation was co-published with Pro Publica. Jeff Kao, Haru Coryne and Mollie Simon of Pro Publica and freelancer Will Craft contributed to the story.