BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LEADING THE WAY
JAMES R. MARSH, ESQ.
A University of Michigan Law School graduate, James represents victims of sex abuse in schools, colleges, churches, and government and military institutions; campus sexual assault and rape, online sexual exploitation; child pornography; sextortion, and revenge porn.
His case on compensation for victims of child pornography in federal criminal restitution proceedings was recently decided by the United States Supreme Court. That case, United States v. Paroline, led to the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act which was recently passed by the Senate 98-0 and is pending in the House.
James founded the nationally recognized Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC, and is an experienced trial attorney, and frequent commentator, lecturer, and author on legal issues affecting children and victims of sex abuse and exploitation. He now leads Marsh Law Firm in New York which is recognized worldwide for its work helping sexually abused victims obtain justice and rebuild their lives with dignity and respect.
PROFESSOR MARCI A. HAMILTON
MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice, and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
Hamilton is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations. She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts. Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, has been published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.
Hamilton has been a vocal and influential critic of extreme religious liberty, advocating for the vulnerable about overreaching. Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores(1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki(7thCir. 2015). She has represented numerous cities dealing with church-state issues as well as claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA). The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty(Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.
Hamilton has been honored with the 2018 Pennsylvania State University Department of Philosophy Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2017 University of Pennsylvania Law School Louis H. Pollak Public Service Award, the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child abuse and neglect, statute of limitations, constitutional, RFRA, RLUIPA, and First Amendment issues.
Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.
Treasurer of the Board
Richard Tollner is former banker, real estate investor with three decades of experience, a clergy abuse survivor and Pro-Bono Lobbyist for Child Sex Abuse legislation. He has accumulated over fifty years of Board of Directorships serving churches, municipalities, chamber of commerce, libraries, charitable organizations, as well as corporate and business interests.
Richard worked in New York State as pro-bono lobbyist for the passage of the Child Victims Act for twelve years. He is a speaker on clergy sex abuse survivorship. He has been an outspoken advocate of sex abuse victims since coming out in 2002 during the Boston Sex Abuse scandal, naming names in New York State, long before the MeToo movement exploded.
A long term fundraiser, Richard has helped raise a few million dollars for, American Cancer Society, Veteran organizations, To Love A Child, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, churches and libraries, among others. He has founded 501c3 organizations, created major fundraisers, and helped numerous charitable and nonprofit organizations deliver their message to the public, as well as, the legislative sector.
He is married to his wife of thirty years, Leslie Tollner. They reside in upstate New York.
Richard is the Treasurer of CHILD USA, where he diligently reviews and oversees that our donations and grants, are directed to the best use, to support children with our mission statement.
Justin Conway is co-founder of Violet Rhino Productions, a media company focused on producing meaningful literary, film, and photographic content. He is an avid raconteur through both words and photographs. His photographs have appeared on Good Morning America, numerous television outlets, as well as in books, magazines and online publications. His philanthropic work has focused on serving vulnerable children through board service with organizations such as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the Camden Community Family Center, which is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for children during court ordered supervised visitation. He currently serves as an ambassador for CHILD USA, a national think tank committed to ending child abuse and neglect. He was was instrumental in passing the Hidden Predator Act of Georgia that serves to protect vulnerable children and expose predators. The Hidden Predator Act was instrumental in exposing the cover up by USA Gymnastics in multiple abuse cases, including the case against Larry Nassar. He currently splits his time between Coastal Georgia and Paris with his brilliant wife, Jennifer Niven, and their semi-feral children.
JEFFEREY FRITZ, ESQ.
Jeffrey P. Fritz, Esq. is experienced in representing crime victims on behalf of survivors of murder, assault, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. He is with the law firm of Soloff & Zervanos in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York.
He represented multiple victims of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky in claims against Penn State University for child sexual abuse and has represented victims of child sexual abuse within religious organizations, medical facilities, schools, day care facilities, sports organizations and other institutions.
Mr. Fritz is a 1996 Cum Laude graduate of Widener University School of Law. He is a member of the bar in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also a charter member, advisory board member and past president (2010 & 2011) of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, a national organization of attorneys and professionals devoted to obtaining civil justice for the victims of crime. Mr. Fritz is also a member of the American Association for Justice and both the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Associations. He has also been named a 2005 & 2006 “Rising Star” by Philadelphia Magazine and Super Lawyers and “Best of the Best” (Reader’s Choice) by South Jersey Magazine for crime victim representation.
Jeffrey P. Fritz has authored several articles regarding civil justice for crime victims in national publications such as Trial Magazine, The Victim Advocate and Victim Voice. He has served as a lecturer on civil justice for attorneys, victims, and victim service providers throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as nationally. He has provided commentary on crime victims’ rights to the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and has appeared on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, Fox-29 & truTV. He has trained crime victim service providers in obtaining civil justice on behalf of the National Center for Victims of Crime/ National Crime Victim Bar Association. He has also lectured on behalf of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency at their state-wide conference entitled “Pathways for Crime Victims” and has served on behalf of the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Board training other attorneys in civil remedies for crime victims across the State of New Jersey. He has been an invited lecturer on behalf of the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), American Association for Justice (AAJ), New Jersey’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association regarding crime victim representation.
DR. LESLIE GRIFFIN
Dr. Leslie C. Griffin is the William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law. Professor Griffin, who teaches constitutional law, is known for her interdisciplinary work in law and religion. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She is author of the Foundation Press casebooks, Law and Religion: Cases and Materials (4th edition, 2017) and Practicing Bioethics Law (2d ed. 2021), which was co-authored with Joan H. Krause, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Learning Constitutional Law, written with Penn Professor Marci Hamilton, will be published in 2022 by Cognella Press.
BRITTANY HENDERSON, ESQ.
Brittany Henderson is a partner at Edwards Pottinger and the co-author of Relentless Pursuit: My Fight for the Victims of Jeffrey Epstein. She represents crime victims and survivors of sexual abuse in civil litigation nationwide.
In 2016, Brittany was recognized for obtaining one of the top 50 jury verdicts in the United States resulting from a high profile sexual abuse case that she litigated with Brad Edwards in Federal Court in Chicago, Illinois and again in 2018, when they obtained a $71 million verdict in state court pursuant to Federal Maritime Law on behalf of a young woman who was sexually assaulted while working as a crew member on a large yacht. She has worked with and against lawyers considered the best in the country and has obtained nearly $100 million in jury verdicts and settlements in her career.
Brittany has appeared on Fox News Tucker Carlson Tonight and was featured in the Lifetime production Surviving Jeffrey Epstein as a result of the tremendous work that she has done on behalf of the survivors of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In addition to being a fearless advocate for crime victims, Brittany co-founded a progressive charity for sexual abuse survivors and is committed to making a difference both in the courtroom and in the community. Brittany has been recognized as a Rising Star by SuperLawyers and by the National Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 40 Under 40.” She is a member of the National Crime Victims Bar Association, the American Justice Association, the Broward County Trial Lawyers Association, and the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association.
Brittany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern University College of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she was served on the executive committees of both the Nova Law Review and the Moot Court
Society. She received the prestigious Stephanie Aleong Impact Award from the College of Law, and upon graduation, she was named to the National Order of Barristers. Prior to attending law school, Brittany graduated with honors from Auburn University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Brittany is a member of the Florida Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, and is admitted to practice in all Florida State Courts and District of Columbia Courts.
BRIAN KENT, ESQ.
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor, a clergy abuse survivor and recipient of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s 2019 Civilian Leadership award. He is the founding partner and head of the crime victim department in the Philadelphia law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP where he leads a team made up entirely of former prosecutors who devote one hundred percent of their practice to representing victims of crime, mostly sexual abuse and assault survivors. Mr. Kent has nearly 16 years of legal experience specializing in representing survivors of abuse, assault and exploitation and has taken on several high profile cases, including representing survivors of Jerry Sandusky, priest abuse as well as Judge William Bradley – a case that resulted in Judge Bradley’s removal from the bench, disbarment and admission to the abuse as part of the settlement. Mr. Kent’s representation of women across the country against massage franchise chain Massage Envy led to a Buzzfeed investigation and article regarding the company’s practices in covering up sexual assaults at its franchise locations which ultimately resulted in the company making changes to its policies and procedures to prevent assaults in the future as well as implementation of a “safety team.” Mr. Kent is currently representing hundreds of customers, men and women, who were sexually assaulted by Massage Envy massage therapists, several of whom had prior reports of assault, including Brandon Davis who assaulted 14 different women despite several reports of sexual assault at a Burlingame, CA location.
Early on in his career, Brian was one of only 35 attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania to be named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track.” Since then, he has received a Top Lawyer rating from Super Lawyers every year. Brian has a Masters of Law in Trial Advocacy from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and serves as an adjunct professor at Drexel University Kline School of Law teaching advanced trial advocacy. He has served as an expert in sexual abuse and assault cases on several local and national news networks and programs and trains institutions and individuals on sexual abuse and assault prevention and investigations. Mr. Kent has served as a volunteer attorney for the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project for the past ten (10) years and founded his own charity “A Week Without Worry” that provides fun and exciting trips to abused children and their families. As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse himself, Mr. Kent uses his experiences to put an end to sexual violence in all forms and help other fellow survivors.
Jennifer Niven is the Emmy Award-winning #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of eleven books, including YA novels All the Bright Places, Holding up the Universe, Breathless, and Take Me With You When You Go (with David Levithan), in addition to several books for adults.
Her books have been translated in over 75 languages, and All the Bright Places has won literary awards around the world, including the GoodReads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2015. It was named a Best Book of the Year by Time Magazine, NPR, the Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, YALSA, Barnes & Noble, BuzzFeed, the New York Public Library, and others, and was the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Book for Winter ’14-’15. The film, starring Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Luke Wilson, and Keegan-Michael Key, is currently streaming on Netflix, with a script by Jennifer and Liz Hannah (The Post).
Jennifer is currently writing the screenplay for the movie version of Holding Up the Universe and working on her fifth novel for young adults. When she isn’t working on multiple book, film, and TV projects, she is involved in global outreach as an advocate for teen mental health awareness. She also oversees Germ, a literary web magazine for high school age and beyond. Her previous works include four novels for adults, as well as three nonfiction books. She divides her time between coastal Georgia and Paris, France, with her husband and literary cats.
Mike Rinder was born and raised in Australia by scientologist parents. He joined scientology’s elite corps, the Sea Org at 18, and rose to sit on the board of the Church of Scientology International and become scientology’s international spokesperson for more than 20 years as well as heading its Office of Special Affairs.
In 2007 he escaped scientology. His entire family disconnected from him. He became a whistleblower against scientology abuses which has culminated in three seasons of the Emmy award winning Leah Remini: Scientology and The Aftermath. That show has changed public perception of scientology and given a voice to many of its victims.
ELYSSE STOLPE, ESQ.
Elysse Stolpe has served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Waynesboro, Virginia since 2015. In this role she primarily prosecutes cases involving child abuse and exploitation, sexual assault, and homicide. Over her career she has prosecuted a wide variety of misdemeanors and felonies in General District, Juvenile and Domestic Relations, and Circuit Courts. Prior to joining the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Stolpe practiced law in Washington, D.C., as a litigation associate in the fields of international arbitration and complex commercial litigation at the international law firm Dentons.
Stolpe is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she teaches Trial Advocacy to second and third year law students. She currently serves as a member of the Hollins University Alumnae Board, as a Commissioner on the Child USA Game Over Commission, and as Chair of the Board of Directors for New Directions Center, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. In spring 2014, Stolpe published her note “MS-13 and Domestic Juvenile Sex Trafficking: Causes, Correlates, and Solutions” in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, the journal for which she also served as senior executive editor.
Stolpe graduated summa cum laude with honors from Hollins University in 2010, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and earned a B.A. in history and international studies, and a certificate in leadership studies. She earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2014.
Rita Swan, Ph.D., speaks and writes about child abuse and neglect related to religious or cultural practices. After losing their son in 1977 because of their faith in Christian Science, she and her husband left the church and became advocates for the rights of children to medical care.
In 1983 they founded Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, a national membership organization. CHILD disseminates information about ideological child abuse and neglect, opposes all religious exemptions from child health and safety laws, lobbies for rights of children to equal protection, and files amicus briefs in support of those rights. See www.childrenshealthcare.org
Swan has testified before legislative committees in 15 states and at a U.S. Senate staff briefing. CHILD’s work in coalition with state organizations has gotten religious exemptions from child neglect laws repealed in nine states and prevented exemptions from being enacted in several other states.
Swan has lectured at many national conferences and received several awards for her child advocacy work including a proclamation from Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Advocacy Service Award from the National Association of Counsel for Children, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Her many publications include chapters in medical textbooks and scholarly reference books, and articles in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, Advances in Pediatrics, Quinnipiac Health Law Journal, and Child Abuse and Neglect: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Evidence.
Swan holds a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University and has worked as a court-appointed special advocate for children (CASA).
Karen Rooney is the Secretary of our Board of Directors. She attended Old Dominion University and worked in Human Resources for Kennedy Health System. Her extensive work with the March of Dimes and other non-profits brings to our organization a wealth of experience in fundraising and event planning.
PAST BOARD MEMBERS
ABBIE R. NEWMAN
Abbie R. Newman began her professional career as a registered nurse practicing in pediatrics before returning to law school and obtaining her J.D. in 1986. She practiced law in Philadelphia for 18 years at Post & Schell, P.C. first as an associate and later as a shareholder. Her practice specialized in medical malpractice defense of doctors, hospitals and nurses, and she was named a Super Lawyer by Philadelphia Magazine in 2005. Abbie became the founding CEO and Executive Director of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Montgomery County in 2008 and currently continues in that role. As Executive Director she has built the collaborative Multidisciplinary Team from a group that assembled on a sporadic basis to review cases to a nationally Accredited CAC which has served over 3,300 abused children and families. She is the past-President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of CACs, and the current and founding Chair of the External Affairs Committee of the State Chapter. Ms. Newman serves on the CAC Advisory Committee in Pennsylvania, charged with awarding state funds to both established and developing CACs. She was also appointed by Gov. Corbett to the Pennsylvania Victim Services Advisory Committee, charged with awarding $100M in funds to victim agencies in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund. Ms. Newman has also worked on both the state and national level with legislators to strengthen child protection laws, increase funding to agencies serving victims of child abuse and neglect, and develop and sustain child advocacy centers as a model for child abuse investigation and prevention.
Abbie received her Bachelor of Science from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, cum laude in 1981 and her JD from Fordham University School of Law in 1986.
JOHN F. SALVESON
John Salveson is a successful entrepreneur, business leader and board director with expert knowledge of human capital management, leadership transition and succession, business strategy and governance. John has more than 30 years of experience in professional services, serving a broad range of clients from diverse industry sectors. He serves as a trusted advisor to business owners, senior executives, investors and board directors, helping them create shareholder and stakeholder value though the effective combination of business and organizational strategy and talent.
John is Co-Founder and Principal of Salveson Stetson Group, Inc. (SSG) a multi-specialty, retained executive search firm. The firm has grown rapidly and profitably into a nationally recognized, mid-sized executive search practice and is a member of IIC Partners (www.iicpartners.com), one of the top ten retained executive search groups in the world with 53 offices in 35 countries. SSG’s clients range from Fortune 50 to private small and mid-sized companies. Since its founding in 1996, the firm has performed successful executive search assignments for more than 150 companies in the United States and Europe. Industry specializations include pharmaceuticals, wholesale distribution, distributed services, healthcare, nonprofits, manufacturing, business/professional services. Search assignments include Board Directors, President/CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, CIO and other senior level executive positions. John serves as Practice Leader for the firm’s Wholesale Distribution Specialty Practice. Before co-founding Salveson Stetson in 1996, John served as Vice President and Director of Client Services of Right Management Consultants. Before that, he helped launch and grow Human Service Systems, Inc., an employee assistance program provider.
Through his leadership roles with several large nonprofit organizations, John has recruited and developed executives and board members and served as a subject matter expert on human resources, talent management, governance, succession planning, executive coaching, and organization development. During his ten years as a Board Member, Vice Chairman and Member of the Executive Committee for The Philadelphia Orchestra he played a critical role in the search for two CEOs, the transition to a new Board Chair, and helped manage a host of issues related to the Orchestra’s transition into and out of bankruptcy. As a Board Member and now Vice Chairman of WHYY, John plays a leadership role in diversifying contributed revenue for the organization, both from individuals and corporations. At the United Way, John has served as a member of the recent CEO Search Committee.
John is also the Founder and President of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Inc. (FACSA). He has been a frequent public speaker on the issue of child sexual abuse, and has received international print, radio and television coverage in his role as an advocate.
John holds both Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Notre Dame. John recently received the 2015 Eleanor H. Raynolds Award, given annually to an executive search professional who combines excellence in search with a strong commitment to volunteerism. He and his wife Susan live in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.