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  • February 18, 2020 - Pittsburgh: The Commission released a public statement condemning the racially-derogatory remarks Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark V. Tranquilli allegedly made to the prosecutor and defense attorney following an acquittal of an African-American defendant in a criminal drug prosecution. He berated the prosecutor for not striking from the jury a young African-American woman, whom her referred to as “Aunt Jemima”, and stated that after completion of her jury service, she would return home to her “baby daddy” who is “probably slinging heroin too.” The full public statement may be found here.
  • February 18, 2020 - Pittsburgh: Executive Director McCormick received the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania.

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  • March 19, 2020 - Harrisburg: The Commission will hold its next Quarterly Meeting.

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The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report

Southwest PA Trafficking Conference

Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of Children: A Victim-Centered Approach

Monday, October 17, 2011

Presenters: Sergeant Byron Fassett | Detective Catherine De La Paz

Sergeant Byron Fassett
Dallas Police Department
Child Exploitation Squad

Sergeant Byron Fassett has been with the Dallas Police Department for 29 years.  He served as Patrol Officer and a Detective before moving to the Child Exploitation Squad in 1990 where he has specialized in conducting investigations involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of children for the past 19 years.  The Child Exploitation Squad, which Sergeant Fassett is responsible for supervising, handles approximately 1,100 cases a year, consists of 15 detectives, and is divided into three teams, the Investigations Team, the High Risk Victims and Trafficking Team, (HRVT) and the Internet Crimes Against Children Team (ICAC).  These teams investigate child abductions, child pornography, victimization of children through prostitution, sexual assaults of children by non-family members/strangers, internet facilitated sexual abuse of children, and other forms of sexual abuse and exploitation of children.   He has been designated as a Special Investigator for the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Texas and a Special Deputy for United States Marshall’s Service.

Sergeant Fassett developed and wrote the grant for the Sexual Offender Apprehension Program (SOAP) and started the SOAP team in the department’s Child Exploitation Squad. The department’s SOAP team was the first in the State of Texas and has now been replicated by several other departments throughout the state and country.

Sergeant Fassett co-developed and wrote the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) grant for the Dallas Police Department, and started the ICAC team in the department’s Child Exploitation Squad.  Sergean Fassett, along with the other members of the Dallas ICAC Task Force, is responsible for the design, implementation and management of “Operation Avalanche.” This operation lasted 16 months and was responsible for the arrest of over 180 suspects, nationally.  

Sergeant Fassett started the High Risk Victims and Trafficking Team (HRVT) within the Dallas Police Department. The HRVT Team specializes in investigations involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of high-risk/multiple runaways, child victims of prostitution/trafficking, and repeat victims of sexual abuse.  Sergeant Fassett co-authored an article, “Juvenile Prostitution: An Overlooked Form of Child Sexual Abuse” in 1994 for the APSAC ADVISOR (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children).   Sergeant Fassett has presented both nationally and internationally on the issue of Domestic Trafficking of Children with regard to dynamics, investigative, and intervention techniques for law enforcement, prosecutors, and NGOs in the United States, Canada, Thailand, and numerous other countries in Southeast Asia.

Sergeant Fassett is one of the original planners and developers of the “Annual Crimes Against Children Conference” held in Dallas each year He has instructed, and is a consultant for Fox Valley Technical College, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), FBI Academy, and for various other agencies and conferences throughout the country and internationally.

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