Investigative Reporter, USA TODAY
Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter for USA TODAY. She has handled investigations relating to social services and welfare issues, including child abuse and neglect, poverty, elder abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and access to mental health services. Marisa has earned more than 50 journalism awards, including the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism, IRE’s Tom Renner Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award in public service, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award and Indiana Journalist of the Year. Prior to USA TODAY, Marisa worked for media outlets in Indiana, South Carolina and Michigan.
In 2016, Marisa and her colleagues launched an investigation into USA Gymnastics that revealed top officials at the sport’s national governing body failed to report many allegations of sexual abuse by coaches. It also showed how predators exploited a lax culture to prey on children. As a result of the series, more than 500 women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Larry Nassar, a longtime team physician who worked in four Olympic games. Nassar pleaded guilty and is serving time in prison. The CEO board of directors of USA Gymnastics resigned. Multiple people have faced criminal charges. The series also spurred the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.
In 2013, Marisa received two national awards, as well as state and regional awards, for her coverage of the difficulties of children with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities to receive appropriate mental health services. She found parents falsely admitting to neglect in order to secure services for their children. After Marisa’s series published, state officials pledged up to $25 million per year to close the funding gap.