To read about our year-end Best of The Florida Independent series, click here. For complete coverage, click here.

The story:

In February, Florida Independent contributor Kopsa broke news about ties between the founder of the Jacksonville-based abstinence education program Project SOS, an organization that has received more than $8 million in taxpayer funding since 2001, and Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, a chief proponent of that country’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

“Martin Ssempa is the man to watch,” Project SOS’ Pam Mullarkey said, according to Ssempa’s website. “He’s the most powerful voice for abstinence in the world and his passion, charisma and character make his vital message irresistible.” Kopsa also reported that the organization had been cited by a sex-education watchdog group for teaching misinformation about HIV and AIDS.

The impact:

For a follow-up story, I contacted Mullarkey to discuss additional state funding we discovered Project SOS had received. When asked whether Project SOS planned to apply for the new round of state abstinence education money, Mullarkey said, “It’s probably organizations like you that make us wonder whether we want to get involved with the government.” When the application period for the state abstinence education dollars closed, the Department of Health confirmed to the Independent that Project SOS had indeed chosen not to apply for taxpayer funds again.

To read about our year-end Best of The Florida Independent series, click here. For complete coverage, click here.

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