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Speakers 2018

Aaron Mango

• Assistant United States Attorney

Aaron Mango has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of New York since November 2007, and handles a wide variety of cases, including a significant number of child exploitation offenses. Aaron is the environmental crimes point of contact within his district. In October of 2008, Aaron was given the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee, and in June of 2014, Aaron and others on the trial team were awarded a Gold Medal from the EPA for their prosecution of the Tonawanda Coke Corporation.

 

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW

• New York Times Bestselling Author

Ashley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 Ashley was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes. >>

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Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship—the school’s most prestigious full-tuition award. She graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Ashley was also chosen as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by the national organization, Do Something. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Her accomplishments advocating for children and families won her the Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Kids to Kids National Service Award from the Child Welfare League of America, and two Angels in Adoption Awards from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. 

 

Dr. Celeste Wilson

• Medical Director, Child Protection Program

Dr. Celeste Wilson is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University-College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an Associate in Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital where she is Medical Director of the Child Protection Program. Board-certified in both Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics, Dr. Wilson provides medical consultation services to all divisions of the hospital when a child is suspected of having been abused or neglected. She has testified in numerous court proceedings and has served as consultant and expert witness for both Prosecution and Defense teams.

 

Christopher Kelly

• Director, Digital Evidence Laboratory

Christopher Kelly is the Director of the Digital Evidence Laboratory for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office where he leads a team of analysts conducting digital forensic examinations of technical evidence in the course of criminal investigations. He previously served as Managing Attorney of the Cyber Crime Division there where he prosecuted cyber offenses. >>

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Prior to working at the Attorney General’s office, Mr. Kelly worked for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, where he built and ran the current Computer Forensic Laboratory. At Suffolk, he prosecuted cybercrime cases and worked on the digital aspects of criminal investigations. Mr. Kelly serves as an instructor and performs curriculum development for the United States Secret service and is an adjunct professor of digital forensics at Bunker Hill Community College. Mr. Kelly holds several digital forensic certifications, is a regular speaker on topics related to digital forensics and cybercrime investigations, and belongs to several professional associations, including the Accreditation Task Group for the National institute of Standards in Technology’s Digital Evidence. He also sits on the editorial board for the Journal of Digital Investigation. Mr. Kelly earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science from Boston University, and his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. 

 

Cory Jewell Jensen, MS

• Senior Trainer, CBI Consulting

Cory Jewell Jensen is currently the senior trainer for CBI Consulting and spent the last 35 years providing evaluation and treatment services to adult sex offenders and their families in Portland, Oregon. In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Jensen has provided training and consultation services to The National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, The National Child Advocacy Center, The National Children’s Alliance, The United States Navy, The National Crime Victims Association, The National Boy Scouts Foundation, The Mark McGwire Foundation for Children, US Marshall’s Office, NYPD Special Victims Unit and a number of law enforcement, child advocacy and Faith based organizations. >>

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Ms. Jensen served as Executive Director for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, chaired two of ATSA’s International Research and Treatment Conferences and served as President of Oregon’s Chapter of ATSA. She also chaired the Offender Management Committee attached to the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, has been an instructor for Portland State University’s Child Welfare Training Institute for the past 18 years and provided training for countless Multi-Disciplinary Teams throughout the United States. Jensen has been the recipient of Oregon’s “Commercial Crime Prevention Award,” the “Champions for Children Award,” the OATSA “Significant Achievement Award,” the Nunnenkamp “Award of Excellence,” and the Jan Hindman Memorial Award. She has published a number of articles related to sex offender treatment, risk management and child abuse prevention, testified as an expert witness in local and federal courts and been a featured guest on radio talk shows and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

 

 Diana Tikasz, MSW, RSW

• Trauma-focused therapy specialist 

Diana Tikasz has worked in the teaching and health care sector for the past 29 years. Her helping work began as an early childhood educator, nurturing children and their families to reach their fullest potential. This work developed into a desire to do trauma-focused work. Over the course of her career she has worked in emergency department crisis teams, coordinated hospital based sexual assault/domestic violence treatment programs, which involved assisting individuals experiencing a current crisis, counselling those who have been traumatized by violence, and teaching a variety of other professionals how to do this work effectively while staying healthy themselves. >>

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Diana continues to work directly with those affected by violence and has in-depth training in trauma-focused therapy. She sits on numerous community and provincial committees focused on violence against women and children. She has spearheaded numerous educational initiatives such as a rape drug campaign, a dating violence awareness video/manual, unfounded sexual assault case reviews and frequently consults in hospital based domestic violence research studies. Diana has also worked in various Employee Assistance Programs where she has specialized in working with individuals who are experiencing direct or indirect trauma exposure as a result of doing helping work. Diana regularly provides training to various health, legal, community and other helping professionals in the area of violence against women and children, trauma, and occupational stress.

 

Frank E. Vandervort

• Clinical Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Frank E. Vandervort is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, where he teaches in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and co-founded the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Professor Vandervort is a former President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and currently serves as Chair of APSAC’s Amicus Committee. He is a former Chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Children’s Law Section. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters regarding children and the law, and is a co-author of the book Seeking Justice in Child Sexual Abuse: Shifting Burdens and Sharing Responsibilities.

 

Dr. Gail Dines

• CEO of Culture Reframed, and Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies

Dr. Gail Dines is a Professor Emerita of sociology and women’s Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, where she was also chair of the American Studies department. She has been researching and writing about the porn industry and sexual violence for well over twenty-five years. Dr. Dines is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America and author of numerous books and articles. Her latest book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, has been translated into five languages. >>

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Dr. Dines is CEO of the NGO, Culture Reframed. Dedicated to building resilience and resistance in children and youth to the harms of a hypersexualized and pornified society, Culture Reframed develops cutting-edge educational programs that promote healthy development, relationships, and sexuality. An internationally known speaker and consultant to governmental bodies here and abroad, Dr. Dines has been described as one of the leading anti-porn scholars/activists in the world. Gail Dines is a regular guest on television and radio shows including ABC, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, CBC, and National Public Radio. She has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Guardian, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and writes for the Huffington Post. In addition to her TEDx talk, Dr Dines’ work is the focus of a film by the Media Education Foundation called Pornland: The Documentary. She is also lead consultant for a forthcoming documentary on porn addiction produced by Steven Soderbergh and Tea Leoni. 

 

Jane Straub

• Victim Assistance Specialist, Jacob Wetterling Resource Center

Jane Straub is the Victim Assistance Specialist for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (JWRC), a program of Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center. Jane has been working in the violence prevention and intervention field for almost 20 years. She has had the opportunity to work with adult victims of abuse, offenders and children of all ages. In addition to providing advocacy and support to victims and families, Jane has been able to educate the community on topics such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, trafficking, bullying/cyberbullying, reproductive coercion and impact of trauma (Ace Study). One of Jane’s goals is to work with a variety of fields such as law enforcement, chemical health, mental health, education, the medical community and business to connect the dots of risk and provide services and hope for our children and families.

 

Janelle Stanley, LMSW

• School social worker, East Harlem

Janelle Stanley works as a school social worker in a public transfer school in East Harlem running an Alternatives to Suspension program she created to lower out-of-school suspension rates. Prior to her career in the NYC Department of Education, Janelle worked for a decade in technologies and business change management. She presents at conferences nationally and internationally on the school-to-prison pipeline, conflict de-escalation, religion and spirituality in social work practice, and anger and trauma-informed services. Janelle is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, where she teaches graduate level social work classes, as well as supervising social work interns in their field placement. Janelle also holds a second degree black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate, and runs a karate dojo in the Village which offers free self-defense workshops for women, LGBTQ folk, and others who are particularly impacted by violence.

 

Special Agent Jennifer Amo

• Special Agent, FBI 

Jennifer Amo is a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo Division. SA Amo began her career with the FBI in January of 1999. Prior to being assigned to the Buffalo Division, SA Amo worked in the Los Angeles Division where she investigated Eurasian Organized Crime from 1999-2005. SA Amo began working Civil Rights and Human Trafficking matters after transferring to the Buffalo Division in 2005 and has conducted several human trafficking investigations of both minors and adults. SA Amo has also investigated multiple violent crimes against children’s cases. SA Amo has been a member of the Western District of New York Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance since it began in 2006.

 

Detective Sergeant Kevin Czora

• Detective Sergeant, City of Batavia

Detective Sergeant Kevin Czora has been a police officer for the City of Batavia Police Department since 1999, a detective since 2008, and detective sergeant since 2017. Since being promoted to detective, Kevin has worked all varieties of adult criminal investigations, including numerous involving child sex abuse. Recognitions received for investigations include the Community Advocate Award in 2012, 2001 American Police Hall of Fame Outstanding Commendation Award, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Award in 2013, City of Batavia Officer of the Year Award in 2014, and Kiwanis Officer of the Year Award 2015.

 

Dr. Kumara Sidhartha

• Medical Director, Emerald Physicians

Dr. Kumara Sidhartha completed medical school training at the Government Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College in Salem, India. After moving to the U.S., he completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center – affiliated with Cornell University, New York. He is a graduate of the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition program at the School of Public Health and Department of Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (USA), Dr. Sidhartha also serves as the Medical Director for Emerald Physicians. He is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition by eCornell University and Colin Campbell Foundation in New York, and board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

 

Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD

• Associate Professor, School of Graduate Psychology

Laura Edwards-Leeper is an associate professor in the School of Graduate Psychology at Pacific University in Oregon and actively engages in clinical work in her part-time private practice and with Legacy Hospital’s T-Clinic. Previously, she worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She was the founding psychologist for the Gender Management Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital where she developed the psychological testing protocol for transgender adolescents seeking medical interventions. >>

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Dr. Edwards-Leeper was trained by the renowned Dr. Peggy Cohen-Kettenis in The Netherlands. She is actively engaged in research endeavors, has coauthored numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, and has been interviewed by various media outlets. Dr. Edwards-Leeper has been a member of several national and international committees focused on working with transgender youth, including the American Psychological Association Task Force that developed practice guidelines for working with transgender individuals, and the SAMHSA committee that helped develop a consensus statement regarding the danger in using conversion therapy with LGBT youth. She currently serves as the chair of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Child/Adolescent Committee and is a member of both the child and adolescent WPATH workgroups that are revising the Standards of Care. She has been identified as an international expert in this area. 

 

Detective Michael Hockwater

• Detective, Cheektowaga, NY

Michael Hockwater has been a police officer for 29 years with the Cheektowaga, NY Police Department and has served in several roles including patrol officer, field training officer, SWAT officer and currently as a detective. In 2010, Detective Hockwater was deputized as a federal task force officer and assigned to the Buffalo FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, investigating internet crimes against Children. Detective Hockwater has spoken at numerous local and national conferences regarding the online exploitation of children.

 

Staci Whitney, LMSW

• Forensic Interviewer, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and Director, Forensic Interviewing Training

Staci Whitney is a Forensic Interviewer at Bivona Child Advocacy Center in Rochester, NY and Director of Forensic Interviewing Training for Modell Consulting Group, LLC. Since 2012, Ms. Whitney has been responsible for developing Bivona’s Forensic Interviewing Program. During this time, Ms. Whitney has had extensive training and experience in the field of Forensic Interviewing including interviewing children and individuals with disabilities who are victims or witnesses of crime. >>

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She has developed and delivered numerous trainings to Multidisciplinary Team Members and other professionals on recognizing and responding to suspicions and reports of child abuse. Ms. Whitney participated as an expert on the New York State – Less is More and Minimal Facts committees to develop curricula for mandated reporters and first responders on reacting to disclosures and reports of abuse. Her experience in training professionals has continued in her work with Modell Consulting Group, with a focus on teaching professionals to interview individuals with disabilities. Prior to joining Bivona staff, Ms. Whitney spent two years as a social worker at The University of Rochester Medical Center, treating adolescents and children with eating disorders and working in the emergency department. Ms. Whitney received her B.S. in Social Work from Nazareth College of Rochester and her M.S.W. from Greater Rochester Collaborative Program of SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College of Rochester.

 

Steven L Procopio, MSW, ACSW, LICSW

• Trainer, Consultant, and Therapist

Steven L Procopio is a trainer/consultant/therapist with a specialty in the sexual victimization of boys, adolescent males and adult men. His current area of expertise is in the commercial sexual exploitation/human trafficking of males.

He founded the first free standing project for CSEC males in the United States 10 years ago. He holds trainer/consultant contracts with the DOJ/HHS related to trafficked males. Steven trains nationally/internationally on the issue of CSEC males and his private practice works with survivors of male sexual victimization.