From T-ball to the NFL:  Athletes & Abuse - April 25, 2018   


This one-day symposium is the first university event to closely examine athletes and abuse across the spectrum of sports and ages. Leading experts, athletes, officials, and policymakers will shine a light on how to change the sports culture that puts children at risk.

The symposium is organized around four sessions -- youth sports, high school and college athletics, elite or Olympic-level athletes, and professional sports, from the NFL and MLB to the NBA and NHL.


Class of 1949 Auditorium (Houston Hall) at the University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 8:30 am-6:00 pm (the day before the Penn Relays)


8:30-9:00 Coffee & light breakfast
9:00-9:30 Opening Remarks Josh Shapiro, Attorney General, Pennsylvania
9:45-11:00 Youth Sports
Moderator: Sara Jaffee, Professor of Psychology, UPenn

  • Steven Berkowitz, M.D., Director, Penn Center for Youth & Family Trauma, Response, and Recovery
  • Patty Dailey Lewis, Esq., Executive Director, Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children
  • Steve Salem, Executive Director, Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation
  • Dan Baum, Executive Director, The Redwood Groups Foundation

11:15-12:30 High School and College Sports
Moderator: Susan B. Sorenson, Professor of Social Policy, Executive Director, Ortner Center on Violence & Abuse in Relationships, UPenn

  • Sean V. Burke, Esq., Associate General Counsel, UPenn Office of General Counsel
  • Ann Coker, Ph.D., MPH, Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair, Center for Research on Violence Against Women; Professor of Epidemiology, University of Kentucky
  • Chris Newlin, M.S., L.P.C., Executive Director, National Children's Advocacy Center
  • Mary Wilfert, M. Ed., Associate Director, NCAA Sports Science Institute

12:30-1:30 Lunch Food trucks available

1:30-2:00 Keynote Address & Book Signing Dominique Moceanu, 1996 Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast

2:00-3:15 Olympic Sports
Moderator: Marci Hamilton, Fox Professor of Practice, UPenn; CEO, CHILD USA

  • Shellie Pfohl, CEO, U.S. Center for SafeSport
  • Nancy Hogshead-Makar, CEO, ChampionWomen
  • Han Xiao, President, USOC Athletes' Advisory Committee
  • Steven Ungerleider, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Global Sports Development

3:30-4:45 Professional Sports
Moderator: Richard J. Gelles, Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence, UPenn

  • Justin Tuck, Former NFL defensive end, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders; Wharton MBA student
  • Mary Pilan, Contributing writer, Bleacher Report; Bestselling author of The Monopolists
  • Doug Glanville, Former MLB outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers; Consultant, Baseball Factory; Author of The Game from Where I Stand
  • Arthur Pincus, Author, The Official Illustrated NHL History; Former VP of Public Relations, NHL

5:00 - 5:30 Closing Remarks Andrea Kremer, Chief Correspondent, NFL Network

Conveners: Richard J. Gelles, Ph.D.; Marci A. Hamilton, Esq.; Susan B. Sorenson, Ph.D.

Ortner Center | University of Pennsylvania | CHILD USA

In 1995 three young Olympic-hopeful athletes testified at an USA Volleyball ethics hearing that they had been sexually abused by their coach, Rick Butler. Butler was one of the winningest volleyball coaches, and the story was picked up by Sports Illustrated. Although Butler was banned from the sport more than two decades ago, he continues to coach teenage girls, including at national tournaments.

The pattern of successful coaches with power over aspiring athletes repeats itself time and again in all levels of sport. Like other arenas where children can be isolated and manipulated by predatory adults, sports present steep challenges to the protection of children. Sports, at all levels, are the latest and the least studied frontier in the prevention of child sex abuse.

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