The two stations earned excellence in journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. WKBW’s award is for its investigation into child sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Western New York. KNXV’s award is for its investigative series inside a local Arizona police department which exposed a corrupt culture that protected officers and misled the public.
The Malone Recordings, obtained by WKBW I-Team Chief Investigator Charlie Specht, revealed the diocese’s top leader attempted to conceal sexual misconduct allegations, providing the team with evidence of a church cover-up.
The station’s reporting has since led to the reform of sexual abuse laws in New York State with the passage of the Child Victims Act, which allowed more than 300 survivors in Western New York to seek justice for crimes committed by priests, coaches and other authority figures over the last five decades.
In 2019, WKBW’s continued investigation of the Catholic Diocese caught the attention of Pope Francis, who ordered a Vatican investigation into Bishop Richard J. Malone. One month later, Malone became the first bishop in the 172-year history of the diocese to resign.