The symposium will take place in the McKernan Auditorium from 12:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.
Documentary producer Rachel de Leon, retired detective Carlton Hershman and Wendy L. Patrick, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D. will serve as panelists alongside LSU Law Professor Lisa Avalos, who appears as an expert witness in “Victim/Suspect.”
de Leon is a reporter and videographer for the Center for Investigative Reporting. In “Victim/Suspect,” she travels across the country exploring cases in which young women were charged with falsely filing a police report, arrested, and even imprisoned after going to police to report being a victim of sexual assault. In 2016, she won two Emmys for her work on the web series “The Dead Unknown” and the PBS NewsHour segment “Deadly Oil Fields.”
Hershman retired from the San Diego Police Department in 2017. During his career, he implemented the sex crimes cold case unit and investigated more than 1,300 sexual assault cases in the ten years he was with the Sex Crimes Unit. He has testified as an expert in sex crimes investigations, false reporting, and victimology of a sex crimes survivor and appears in “Victim/Suspect.”
Patrick has over 28 years of experience prosecuting domestic abusers, sexually violent predators, human traffickers, stalkers, rapists, and child molesters. She also owns Black Swan Verdicts, a full-service publicity and consulting business, and serves as a media commentator. Patrick teaches sexual assault prevention for several branches of the U.S. military and lectures domestically and internationally on the topics of sexual assault, threat assessment, and human trafficking.
Avalos joined LSU Law in 2018 and serves as co-director of the Pugh Institute for Justice with Professor Ray Diamond. While her research interests include criminal law and procedure, with an emphasis on sexual offenses and gender-based violence, she is especially renowned for her expertise on accusations of false reporting in sexual assault cases. In recognition of her extensive scholarly work and independent dedication to helping end gender-based violence, Avalos was honored with the 2023 Visionary Award from the End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) nonprofit organization.
Founded in 1998, the George W. and Jean H. Pugh Institute for Justice provides support for research and educational activities that promote justice for individuals in the administration of the criminal and civil justice systems in Louisiana and elsewhere. Based at LSU Law, the Institute regularly sponsors symposia, with the help of students, community members, and public interest organizations, that bring speakers to the LSU campus who enrich public dialogue related to the achievement and protection of individual rights.