A team of Star Tribune journalists was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist Monday in the local reporting category for a series of stories on Minnesota's widespread failings in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault.

Brandon Stahl, Jennifer Bjorhus, MaryJo Webster and Renée Jones Schneider were selected as finalists for the nine-part series "Denied Justice," which has spurred local and statewide changes in how police handle sex crimes.

The team analyzed more than 1,500 reports of sexual assault to shed light on the chronic errors plaguing most rape investigations.

Pulitzer judges praised the "illuminating and disturbing" series for exposing how such breakdowns in Minnesota's handling of rape cases failed victims of sexual assault.