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Test Migration New

New York Diversity Forum

On April 28, 2017 ICSA is participating in an important event organized by the Federal Bar Association EDNY Chapter.

As part of its financial obligation to this event, ICSA has committed to providing at least 20 registrants for the event. Please consider attending and/or encouraging others to attend. The program is aimed at all who are interested in legal issues impacting unrepresented and marginalized groups, such as former cultic group members. The registration fee (which includes lunch) is $30 ($50 for attorneys seeking 4.0 CLE credits).

If you cannot attend, please consider donating to help ICSA meets its financial obligation of $1500 for participating in this program. To donate, go here.  

Please read on for information on the conference and the contributions of ICSA members Robin Boyle Laisure, JD, Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM, and Stephanie Spanos, MD. Registration information is at the end of this message.

The Conference

Continuing Legal Education Seminar
Friday, April 28, 2017, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
U.S. District Courthouse
225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York
Central Jury Room

This program will consist of a series of sessions that will address key issues impacting traditionally unrepresented and marginalized groups and will provide a unique opportunity for cross‐cultural collaboration among community leaders. The forum has been structured to allow partnering organizations to address issues critical to their members with the goal of promoting greater understanding and enabling a constructive dialogue between community/identity interest groups, bar associations and members of the community.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is supporting the forum, which is presented by the following organizations:

  • International Cultic Studies Association 
  • Federal Bar Association LGBT Section 
  • Muslim Bar Association of New York 
  • National Hispanic Bar Association 
  • Puerto Rican Bar Association 
  • FBA EDNY Chapter 
  • Dominican Bar Association 
  • Long Island Hispanic Bar Association 
  • Latino Lawyers of Queens County 
  • Latino Judges Association 
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York 

Go here to see a flyer for the event  

ICSA’s Contribution

Dr. Spanos and Professors Boyle and Scheflin (bios below) will present on a panel addressing the following topics:

  • the common thread of undue influence and how it undermines consent in various nefarious relationships, such as in high-demand cultic groups and in human trafficking; 
  • a brief introduction to the prevalence of cultic activity still existing today and the rise of human trafficking – on an international and local scale; 
  • how establishing the effect of undue influence has met legal challenges in the court room; and 
  • a proposed legal theory that would be useful in overcoming evidentiary challenges. 

This panel, which is tentatively scheduled before lunch (beginning approximately at 10:30 a.m, but please arrive early), builds upon ICSA’s 2016 Cults and Sex Trafficking conference at the University of Southern California. During this conference, Professor Scheflin explained how an updating of the centuries-old legal concept of undue influence can increase understanding in the courts in ways that will protect the rights of victims of sex trafficking, cults, and other situations involving extreme psychological influence. See Professor Scheflin’s paper, “Supporting Human Rights by Testifying Against Human Wrongs,” which was published in International Journal of Cultic Studies

The abstract of this paper states:
Experts seeking to testify in court about extreme-influence processes practiced by clever influencers against susceptible and vulnerable influencees have encountered difficulty from some judges who have hesitated or refused to hear testimony about brainwashing, mind control, and thought reform on the grounds, in their opinion, that these concepts lack scientific validity. This paper suggests that the legal concept of undue influence be used as a vehicle for such testimony. The paper also provides a Social Influence Model (SIM) to assist an expert in presenting the extensive science of social influence to judges and jurors.
This conference provides an opportunity to talk directly to judges and attorneys among others. 
ICSA’s panel begins at 12:00 PM.  Lunch follows the ICSA panel.  Please arrive early, especially if you want to hear panels from other organizations. Registration and coffee begins at 9:30 AM.

We hope that you will attend and will tell others about the conference.

To register, please go here

Please email ICSA (mail@icsamail.com) after you have registered so that we will know that you plan to attend.

Bios of Panelists

Robin Boyle Laisure, JD, Professor of Legal Writing, St. John’s University School of Law, is on the editorial board of ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies. She lectures on topics concerning cults and the law. Her recent article, Employing Trafficking Laws to Capture Elusive Leaders of Destructive Cults, is published by the Oregon Review of International Law (2016). She also wrote Current Status of Federal Law Concerning Violent Crimes Against Women and Children: Implications for Cult Victims, published in the Cultic Studies Review (2002). Two articles have appeared in the Cultic Studies Journal: How Children in Cults May Use Emancipation Laws to Free Themselves (1999) and Women, the Law, and Cults: Three Avenues of Legal Recourse – New Rape Laws, Violence Against Women Act, and Antistalking Laws (1998). In 2005, she received the Faculty Outstanding Achievement award from the President of St. John’s University.

Alan W. Scheflin, JD, LLM, is Emeritus Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law in California and a member of ICSA’s Board of Directors. Among his several dozen publications is Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law (co-authored with Daniel Brown and D. Corydon Hammond), for which he received the 1999 Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association, one of 18 awards he has received. Professor Scheflin is also the 1991 recipient of the Guttmacher Award for Trance on Trial (with Jerrold Shapiro). A member of the Editorial Advisory Board of ICSA’s International Journal of Cultic Studies, Professor Scheflin received the 2001 American Psychological Association, Division 30 (Hypnosis), Distinguished Contribution to Professional Hypnosis Award. This is the highest award that Division 30 can bestow. He was also awarded in 2001 The American Board of Psychological Hypnosis, Professional Recognition Award. This Award was created to honor his achievements in promoting the legal and ethical use of hypnosis. Professor Scheflin has delivered over 100 invited addresses at professional conferences. In 2004 ICSA awarded Professor Scheflin the Herbert L. Rosedale Award in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.

Stephanie Spanos, MD, is a child psychiatrist who has worked for over 20 years with troubled children in hospitals, clinics, foster care, and residential treatment as well as in the New York City Public School System. She is particularly concerned with how family dynamics and relationships drive the motivations and actions of children and how this pertains to child trafficking in particular.


To register, please go here.

Please email ICSA (mail@icsamail.com) after you have registered so that we will know that you plan to attend.

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1 239 514 3081 mail@icsamail.com