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Scripps News Investigates: Episode 1

Scripps News uncovers insurance providers putting profits over patients, the trend of sextortion in America and years of police misconduct.
Scripps News Investigates: Episode 1
Posted at 9:30 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 20:20:18-05

Scripps News Investigates chronicles a Michigan man's fight for his life, when his final plea to have insurance cover his cancer treatment was denied. We uncover a worrying trend of sextortion in America, in which unsuspecting teens are targeted on social media. And we share a two-year investigation into troubled police officers in Detroit, which is credited with changing police training culture.

Profits over patients

Imagine you or someone you love needs expensive, life-extending treatment — but you're told your insurance won't cover it.

Our Scripps News investigative team partnered with ProPublica to pull back the curtain on the inner workings of one insurance company that insiders told us had put profits over patients. 

We hear from the family of Forrest VanPatten, who died in 2020 after a battle with aggressive lymphoma.

VanPatten's insurance company had denied coverage of a clinically proven treatment that doctors believed was the last chance to extend his life.

ProPublica turned up dozens of cases around the country in which insurers have refused to pay for routine and emergency procedures, all in violation of state laws.

Sextortion in America

Cases of sextortion in the U.S. are exploding: Predators target teens on social media, coercing them to share compromising photos, and then threaten to expose them unless they send more pictures, and in some cases money.

Exclusive video Scripps News obtained shows the FBI raid the home of a social media sextortionist who preyed on children.

We speak with a victim who says a perpetrator befriended her, pretending to be a teenage boy — then threatened her family and blackmailed her for years.

Experts say the sextortion of children is a growing problem across the country, now increasingly including financial threats.

Conduct unbecoming

For the past two years, a Scripps investigative team in Detroit has been exposing dozens of cases of misconduct in the city's police department. Its reporting has revealed officers who stayed on the force after being accused of abuse, who have used racist language, or who collected dozens of citizen complaints. The investigation has led to important changes in how Detroit trains and disciplines its officers.


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