13th Annual Law & Society symposium examines sexual abuse and human trafficking issues

JANUARY 4, 2021 — In recent years, high-profile sexual abuse and human trafficking cases have challenged the limits of the law and impacted society in significant ways. From Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein to the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, these cases have had wide-ranging effects on statute of limitations policies and victims’ rights.

During the 13th annual Law & Society symposium on February 5, leading experts will discuss the emerging complexities and nuances of sexual abuse and exploitation law. Presented by The Charleston Law Review and Furman University’s Riley Institute, the all-day event will be broadcast virtually to attendees.

“The annual Law & Society symposium sheds light on the complex relationship between the law and our daily lives, and this year is no different,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “The invisible ills of sexual abuse and sex trafficking pose a challenge to those who litigate and legislate in this field, but we hope the conversations that emerge from the symposium will put our nation one step closer to creating a more just system for victims.”

Marci Hamilton will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Law & Society Symposium. The founder, CEO, and legal director of CHILD USA and a former clerk of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Hamilton has been a leading expert on statutes of limitation for clergy sex abuse and child sex abuse cases. Her talk on The Emergence of Children’s Civil Rights will begin the day’s discussions on Friday, Feb. 5.

Other distinguished speakers include Kristen M. Gibbons Feden, who will discuss the challenges of prosecuting high-profile defendant Bill Cosby and the importance of protecting victims during litigation, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau, professor and director of Johns Hopkins Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, whose talk will challenge the existing policies surrounding juvenile sex offender registration.

Forums throughout the day will feature a variety of speakers discussing both the legal and societal implications of sexual abuse and human trafficking. Participants include former U.S. speed skater and survivor Bridie Farrell, former priest Patrick Wall, trafficking survivor and advocate Jamie Rosseland, and director of the S.C. Human Trafficking Task Force Kathryn Moorehead among others.

“Charleston School of Law is delighted to once again co-sponsor the Law and Society Symposium with our friends at Furman University’s Riley Institute,” said Charleston School of Law Dean Larry Cunningham. “The theme of this year’s symposium is timely and speaks to core issues of access to justice, redress for injury, and accountability through law. I look forward to hearing from the excellent lineup of experts that are convening in Charleston and virtually to address these important issues.”

Conference details  

The symposium will be presented virtually on Feb. 5, 2021, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit charlestonlaw.edu/symposium.

Attorneys who attend can receive continuing legal education credit for a fee of $100. The symposium qualifies for 7.33 hours of CLE credit in South Carolina. Proceeds from fees will be donated to Darkness to Light, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, ChildUSA.org, America Loves Kids, AEquitas, and the Beau Biden Foundation.

About the Charleston Law Review

The Charleston Law Review is the flagship journal of the Charleston School of Law. In its past issues, the Charleston Law Review has published significant public figures ranging across the political spectrum from then-President Barack Obama to John Yoo, former presidential legal advisor to President George W. Bush. More information is here.

About The Riley Institute at Furman

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. More information is here.

About the Charleston School of Law

The Charleston School of Law offers students the unique opportunity to study the time-honored practice of law amid the beauty and grace of one of the South’s most historic cities. Students at the Charleston School of Law study law as a profession and find a faculty focused on using the law as a calling in the public interest.  More information is here.

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