NEFAC Co-Sponsors Panel Discussion on Covering Sexual Assaults; Open to Public, Free to Attend

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is co-sponsoring a panel discussion for journalists on how to best cover cases of sexual assaults.

The program is at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Boston University, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 522. Attendance is free but registration is required.

The discussion follows months of sexual harassment accusations against public figures throughout the country. It will focus on ways reporters can best investigate and report on the topic. The event is also sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists New England, the Boston University chapter of SPJPrince Lobel Tye and the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

Speakers include:

Jenn Abelson, The Boston Globe | Abelson is an investigative reporter for the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team. She has recently reported on outdated sexual abuse laws and accusations of sexual abuse at Phillips Exeter Academy. She joined the Globe in 2001 and recently covered the retail and restaurant sectors. Abelson spent about two years investigating fraud in the seafood industry for the series “Fishy Business.” A graduate of Cornell University, Abelson was a 2012 finalist for the Livingston Award for journalists under 35.

Robert A. Berstche, Attorney | A member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors, Bertsche is a media and First Amendment lawyer at Prince Lobel Tye, offering counseling and litigation services to clients throughout the United States including magazines, newspapers, book publishers, broadcasters, website operators, bloggers, filmmakers, and advertising and public relations agencies. In his employment practice, Bertsche counsels employers on many issues, including sexual harassment prevention.

Devra First, The Boston Globe | First is the Boston Globe’s food writer and restaurant critic. She writes features about the world of food, restaurant reviews, and critical pieces exploring the cultural and societal meaning of food and restaurants. She recently wrote about the prevalence of sexual harassment in Boston restaurants. First has worked at the Globe as a writer and editor since 2000. She was previously the Globe’s food editor. She has also served as assistant arts editor in the Globe’s Living/Arts department and worked at the Boston Phoenix.

Mitchell Garabedian, Attorney | Garabedian is an attorney specializing in sexual abuse cases. He began practicing law in 1979 and focused his practice on helping individuals in cases involving personal injury, divorce, immigration, bankruptcy, and criminal matters. He became widely known for his representation of victims and survivors of Roman Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse in the 1990s and 2000s. To date, his firm has represented more than 1,000 victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Kay Lazar, The Boston Globe | Lazar is a member of the Boston Globe’s team of strike force reporters who investigate people and events in the news to uncover the full story and hold leaders accountable for their actions. She recently reported about sexual assault and harassment cases at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her experience combines more than two decades of print and broadcast reporting. She previously worked as a news writer and producer at ABC and CBS radio networks.

Diana Mancera, Jane Doe Inc. | Mancera is Jane Doe Inc.‘s director of membership and programs. The organization provides expert support and resources to 60 community-based groups working to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence. Mancera worked for three years at the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center, where she joined the staff as a bilingual advocate and was promoted to Program Director. She’s also an active member of the GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition and the Massachusetts Women of Color Network.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC for this year include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, Lois Howe McClure, The Boston Globe and Boston University. Celebration Supporters include The Hartford Courant and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.