Religion Unplugged

Investigation into Amish, Mennonite sex abuse honored as Pulitzer finalist

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-In” features analysis, insights and top headlines from the world of faith. Got feedback or ideas for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

It’s a heavenly time for the Godbeat.

For the second year in a row, journalism’s most prestigious award committee has recognized the transcendent work of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette religion editor Peter Smith.

Smith and two colleagues — Stephanie Strasburg and Shelly Bradbury — were honored this week as Pulitzer Prize finalists for “an unprecedented investigation of child sexual abuse and cover-ups in the insular Amish and Mennonite communities.”

Just last year, Smith was a key part of the Post-Gazette team that received a Pulitzer for its “immersive, compassionate coverage of the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue that captured the anguish and resilience of a community thrust into grief.”

Besides those stories, Smith led the newspaper’s coverage of a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed 70 years of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, noted Sally Stapleton, former Post-Gazette managing editor.

“He’s a calm, kind, consistent and transparent journalist who engenders trust among the most reticent,” said Stapleton, now the New York-based global religion editor for The Associated Press.

Read the full column.

This column is published each Friday by Religion Unplugged and Religion News Service.

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