Sugar Ray Leonard and Elizabeth Smart to Speak at Sexual Abuse Conference

One of President Rodney Erickson’s goals since he assumed his title in November has been for the university to become “a leader in the research, prevention, and treatment of child abuse.” One step towards that goal will be a two-day conference in late October at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, featuring several high-profile abuse survivors along with professors who have dedicated much of their research to the topic.

The event was organized by the Penn State Justice Center for Research and Penn State Outreach with the focus on further education about a national problem. Other participating organizations are the Penn State Hersey Center for Protection of Children, the Child Study Center, the Prevention Research Center, the Penn State Center for Children and the Law, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The conference, called “Traumatic Impact, Prevention, and Intervention,” will take place on October 29-30 in a discussion based forum. Sugar Ray Leonard, an accomplished boxer who was sexually abused as a child, will make a speech and talk with those in attendance. Elizabeth Smart, an ABC News contributor and activist who was abducted as a young teenager, will act as the conference headliner.

A few professors who will be present include Dr. David Finkelhor, Dr. Penelope Trickett, and Lucy Berliner. The three work at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern California, and the University of Washington respectively studying mental health, traumatic stress, and social work.

Other important topics to be discussed include methods of treatment, legal issues regarding investigations, and ways to detect pedophiles in the age of the Internet.

A website devoted to the conference is available with additional details including registration information. Registration will be $145 for the general public, and $45 for students with this money covering lunch, refreshments, and all other components of the conference.

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Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.


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