Archive for January, 2020

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh in The Beacon newsroom sharing the stories behind his stories about Saudi students charged with serious crimes, who then fled the country with the help of their government.

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, whose self-described beat the The Oregonian is “murder and mayhem” visited the newsroom recently. His series “Fleeing Justice” uncovered a pattern involving college students from Saudi Arabia studying in the U.S. who were charged with crimes here. Those students, who represent a small fraction of Saudi college students in this country, were literally bailed out of jail by Saudi government representatives and whisked out of the country with no repercussions.

Kavanaugh told Beacon staff that the series was triggered by a conversation with a Multnomah County prosecutor who had mentioned his frustration about a hit-and-run , in which a 15-year-old Portland girl was killed, and the accused was bailed out and disappeared. Kavanaugh wrote about that case, and soon began to learn about similar scenarios in Oregon and across the country. About 75% of the cases involve sexual assault.

Kavanaugh’s series of reports led to congressional action led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who sponsored legislation requiring the FBI to de-classify any information it has related to the Saudi government’s role in helping the students get out of jail and out of the country.

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh in The Beacon newsroom

Ultimately, President Trump signed the legislation in December. According to Kavanaugh’s latest piece, one recently declassified FBI document indicates the Saudi government “almost certainly” helps its student flee justice, and will likely continue doing so unless the U.S. government confronts the Saudi government.

Stay tuned. We know Shane Dixon Kavanaugh will keep us informed.

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