Salt Lake Tribune wins Pulitzer for BYU sex assault stories

Pulitzer winners, left to right, Rachel Piper, Jessica Miller, Erin Alberty, Alex Stuckey and Sheila McCann from the Salt Lake Tribune, look on during a Pulitzer party in their newsroom Monday, April 10, 2017, in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Tribune staff won for reports revealing the mistreatment of sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Salt Lake Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for local reporting for a series of stories on Mormon-owned Brigham Young University’s practice of opening honor code investigations into students who reported they were victims of sexual assault.

The staff at the Utah newspaper won for the series that prompted BYU to revise its policies and say it will stop investigating student victims.

The school’s strict honor code includes bans on drinking and premarital sex

“I hope that this just kind of helps confirm that these stories were true, they were newsworthy and they were right to be told,” said Erin Alberty, one of the reporters who worked on the series. She called the reporting a team effort.

The Pulitzer committee called it “a string of vivid reports revealing the perverse, punitive and cruel treatment given to sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University.”

Matt Canham, senior managing editor for The Salt Lake Tribune, called the winning articles an “amazing series of reports.”

“They had dozens and dozens of ethical decisions to make,” he said during the celebration. “They got the trust of women who went through horrible situations — and men — to tell their stories.”

The paper’s prize-winning coverage of sex assault investigations also included stories about allegations at Utah State University, a large public school in northern Utah. The Tribune reported last year that multiple women made allegations against a then-student in 2015 but the student was never arrested or charged with a crime.

A county prosecutor last summer began reviewing the cases against the former student, USU football star Torrey Green, after The Salt Lake Tribune reported the allegations.

Green is accused of assaulting seven women and faces charges in seven separate cases that include rape, assault and kidnapping charges. He has maintained his innocence, but he has not yet stood trial or entered a plea.

Green had signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. But the NFL team released Green last summer after the allegations against him were made public.

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