Experts in criminal law, digital forensics, behavioral science, victimology and other fields will explore the investigation and adjudication of sexual and violent serial offenders at Predators and Their Prey, the 11th annual Wecht Conference, on Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Duquesne University Power Center Ballroom.
“In an era of technology-assisted serial killers, pedophiles and scam artists, we consider it important to do our part in educating criminal legal professionals, psychologist, health care providers, students and the general public alike about the minds and actions of such predatory individuals and those on whom they prey,” said Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathology consultant and chair of the institute’s advisory board.
Among the topics to be addressed:
- Are All Child Pornographers Child Predators?
- What Can Autopsies Tell Us About Perpetrators?
- Polygamous Sect Leaders and the Psychology of Exploitation
- Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults.
“This year’s conference also represents a departure from the Institute’s standard fare in that its emphasis will lie in the realm of behavioral, rather than physical or biological, science,” said Dr. Fred Fochtman, director of the Wecht Institute. “That said, professionals and students in areas such as computer science, pathology and toxicology won’t be disappointed.”
As part of his presentation on predators, Dr. Allan Pass, director of National Behavioral Science Consultants, will accompany Nancy Bonnett, the only surviving victim of Gary Robbins, who was linked to a series of abductions, rapes and murders throughout the tri-state area and beyond beginning in the early 1970s. In this rare appearance, Bonnett, who was abducted by Robbins in 1985, will speak about her ordeal and answer questions from the audience. Pass collaborated in the Robbins investigation, providing a criminal profile that led to his identification and attempted arrest in 1988 during which Robbins took his own life.
Some of the other experts presenting at the two-day lecture include:
- Dr. Michael Welner, noted forensic psychiatrist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York University
- Mark Safarik, executive director of Forensic Behavioral Services and retired member of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit
- Lyndsie Schantz, forensic specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.
Continuing education credits will be available for Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio attorneys as well as Pennsylvania nurses, coroners, social workers, and primary and secondary school teachers.