Case Closed

This multipart series focuses on rape survivor Sandi Fedor’s efforts to track down the serial rapist who attacked her as she discovers that her trust has been betrayed by the indifference of an historically under-resourced Cleveland Police sex crimes unit. Judges praised the team for “successfully intertwining a visceral survivor’s point of view narrative with traditional investigative reporting.” They said the series “meticulously documents with photographs, video clips, audio recordings, public records, police documents, and prior investigative reporting” a “pattern of systemic police department failure dating back decades” which “enabled serial offenders like the man who attacked Sandi Fedor to evade justice for years.” Originally published in the Plain Dealer on September 29, 2019.

Case Closed: Raped in Cleveland. Abandoned by police. She became her own detective.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — When Sandi Fedor reported her rape, she warned a Cleveland detective that her attacker would hurt someone else. She gave police more than enough information to find him. But they barely investigated her case, then dropped it without telling her.

Sandi couldn’t live knowing her rapist was still on the street — so she set out to track him down herself. She isn’t the first woman to come to police, asking for help, only to be shunted aside, “discarded,” she says, “like a piece of trash.”

The persistent problems within the city’s sex crimes unit span decades. Sandi’s story reveals the human cost of those failings for her, the detectives assigned to work the cases and the Greater Cleveland community. The Plain Dealer spent more than a year reporting and producing this special report.

Find each part of the story below and a link to the materials we used in our reporting. Scroll to the bottom for more videos, and a link to join a discussion about the series.

Series Elements:

More in Sandi’s words below: