Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Culture of Indifference. Many college women say their experiences after being sexually assaulted on campus, often in date rape situations, illustrate a culture of indifference and denial. Unclear and conflicted internal disciplinary systems can compound their suffering, an issue detailed by this series. The work was done in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity following a year-long investigation into college disciplinary proceedings in rape cases. The project included National Public Radio and was localized by five members of the Investigative News Network: the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Texas Watchdog, the Rocky Mountain News Network and InvestigateWest. Stories in Oregon and Washington were produced by Lee van der Voo and Carol Smith for InvestigateWest and distributed to multiple partners. In Oregon, the work uncovered particularly troubling practices at Reed College, where rape victims were discouraged from calling the police, their cases instead adjudicated by other students in highly secretive. The series earned special recognition for the Bruce Baer Award in Oregon, the first Bruce Baer awarded to a nonprofit journalism foundation, and nationally led to the introduction of the Campus SaVE Act in Congress and earned a Philip Meyer Journalism Award for computer-assisted reporting for the Center for Public Integrity.
- Story one: Athletic club weekend turns into nightmare for college freshman. Feb. 25, 2010, InvestigateWest and all partners. Lee van der Voo and Carol Smith.
- Story two: Colleges ‘in denial’ about campus sexual assault problem, advocates say. Feb. 25, 2010, InvestigateWest and all partners. Lee van der Voo and Carol Smith.
- Story three: Sexual violence on campus: not just a crime of men against women. Feb. 25, 2010, InvestigateWest and all partners. Lee van der Voo.
- Story four: Campus sexual assault: Does ‘honor code’ system squelch justice at Oregon school? June 22, 2010, InvestigateWest and The Oregonian. Lee van der Voo.
- Story five: Portland college students demand changes in sexual assault process. April 4, 2011, InvestigateWest and The Oregonian. Lee van der Voo.
- Story six: College moves toward changing rules for handling sexual assault cases. April 7, 2011, InvestigateWest and The Oregonian. Lee van der Voo.
- Story seven: College announces changes in sexual assault policies. May 5, 2011, InvestigateWest and The Oregonian. Lee van der Voo.
NSFW. A porn-cruising dentist is kicked out of his practice by partners after masturbating in the office and watching pornography in front of the staff. But a subsequent lawsuit finds in his favor and records of his conduct are sealed by a state medical board, leaving patients in the dark. A public records battle instigated by Lee led to the release of the state’s investigation by the Department of Justice, producing this article that explored workers rights and the dark consequences of porn addiction.
- NSFW. December 2010, Portland Monthly Magazine.
To Protect and Serve. Portland Police officers fight for benefits for on-the-job injuries, led by Henry Groepper, the department’s former spokesman, who developed cancer after entering hundreds of busted drug labs. Though a department manual says the 110 officers are covered for life for injuries sustained on the job, the city claims the language is a mistake. Documents that might say otherwise go missing as retirees meanwhile begin new jobs to pay for insurance premiums and medical care in their golden years.
- To Protect and Serve. June 2011, Portland Monthly Magazine.
Crossing the Line. An Oregon police deputy advances to the rank of lieutenant, despite being found responsible for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty. Years later, he’s convicted of drunk driving and arrested by colleagues after assaulting his wife at a police softball tournament. He was also the subject of two brutality lawsuits, one related to the sexual assault and another involving the assault of a mentally ill man in his home. But records detailing the deputy’s conduct were sealed. The series, assisted by reporter Nick Budnick, explored the culture in which this wayward officer thrived, the two police chiefs who helped advance his career, and the unique set of circumstances that allowed him to hide past misconduct. The project was distributed by three newspapers and won an award from Investigative Reporters and Editors and special recognition for the Bruce Baer Award, Oregon’s top reporting prize, in 2009.
- Story one: Crossing the Line – An LOPD officer’s actions in 1992 cast a dark shadow on the department. May 21, 2009, Lake Oswego Review, West Linn Tidings, Portland Tribune.
- Story two: Crossing the Line – ‘Cocaine cowboys’ avoid scrutiny. May 28, 2009, Lake Oswego Review, West Linn Tidings, Portland Tribune.
- Story three: Crossing the Line – They want to talk, but can’t. Is West Linn investigation ‘designed to prevent public disclosure?’ June 4, 2009, Lake Oswego Review, West Linn Tidings, Portland Tribune.
Citations, injuries pile up. Health care workers call 9-1-1 on an 86-year-old woman, Elvera Stephan, and accuse her of being threatening without examining her. Police arrive to contain her, and Stephan is severely bruised on her face and wrists as police take her to the floor and cuff her. Surveillance video shows she is made to lie facedown for several minutes while caregivers fail to intervene, even holding her ankles while waiting for an ambulance. This is health care at Avamere, a for-profit elder care company with one of the worst records of health injury statistics in the Portland metropolitan region and among the most expensive care rates. Stephan’s family ultimately received one of the largest settlements against a senior care facility for loss of dignity in Oregon history, but faced a moving shell game of corporations in court, a structure designed to prevent lawsuits and discourage litigants. This story was originally reported in the Lake Oswego Review by Lee van der Voo as spot news, then followed through trial. On the heels of the verdict, Lee teamed with Christian Gaston, a reporter at The Forest Grove News-Times, to analyze health care data from around the state.
- Story one: The Challenges of Care, part one. June 12, 2008, Lake Oswego Review. Lee van der Voo and Christian Gaston.
- Story two: The Challenges of Care, part two. June 19, 2008, Lake Oswego Review. Lee van der Voo and Christian Gaston.