Crimes Against Children in the 21st Century

April 4, 2024
Old Lumber Company, Vermillion, SD
9am to 3pm

Please join us for the 3rd Annual Legal Workshop. This FREE workshop is intended for law students, legal professionals, and others interested in better understanding about the legal issues and victim representation in tech-facilitated child abuse. Light breakfast & lunch are provided.

The 3rd Annual Legal Workshop is sponsored by the South Dakota Unified Judicial System Court Improvement Program. CPCM and the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law are partner organizations for the event.

9:00 Welcome by Justice Myren

9:15 Workshop Introduction by Dean Neil Fulton

9:30 Legal Issues in Tech-Facilitated Child Sex Abuse, Warren Binford

This session will discuss the complex legal issues implicated in child sex abuse that is facilitated by technologies, including child sex abuse material (CSAM), livestreaming, child sex trafficking, luring, grooming, and more. These types of crimes challenge law enforcement, prosecutors, behavioral health professionals, and, of course, victims, survivors, and their families. We will examine the rapidly exploding prevalence of these crimes and the legal framework at the state, national, and international levels before considering investigative and jurisdictional issues, victims’ (largely unfulfilled) rights to redress, the implications of artificial intelligence, and the extraordinary psychological impact on almost everyone involved in these crimes. We will close by looking at pending legislation and visionary initiatives to help address these seemingly insurmountable challenges.  

10:45 Break

11:00 Victim Representation in Tech-Facilitated Child Sex Abuse, A.R. Ascano

Victim representation of youth is challenging, more so without an understanding of the developmental, social, emotional, and psychological impact of crime on your client. This presentation addresses the youth perspectives on crimes with a technology component, as well as how to interact with youth victims of abuse and neglect.

12:15 Lunch

12:45 Legislative Work to Protect Children from Harm

1:45 Panel Discussion: Investigation, Prosecuting, and working with Survivors

2:45 Closing by Matt Michels

South Dakota Unified Judicial System

Justice Scott P. Myren, who was sworn in to represent the Fifth Supreme Court District on January 5, 2021, was appointed by Governor Kristi Noem. Justice Myren grew up on his family farm in rural Campbell County and graduated from Mobridge High School in 1982. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree, double majoring in history and political science from the University of South Dakota in 1985. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University in 1988, where he was the Research Editor of the Rutgers Law Journal. Justice Myren practiced law in Denver, Colorado, before returning to South Dakota to work as a staff attorney for the South Dakota Supreme Court. He served as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings and magistrate judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. In 2003 he was appointed as a circuit judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit by Governor M. Michael Rounds. He was re-elected to that position by the voters in 2006 and 2014. Chief Justice David Gilbertson appointed him the Presiding Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit in 2014. Justice Myren served as chair of the Unified Judicial System’s Presiding Judges’ Council and president of the South Dakota Judges’ Association. He served on numerous committees, including the Court Improvement Program and Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, which he chaired. He was selected as a Judicial Fellow to the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center in Washington D.C., in 2009. He served on Governor Daugaard’s South Dakota Criminal Justice Initiative workgroup and Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative workgroup. He supervised the rural and urban pilot programs, which led to the implementation of Hope Probation across South Dakota. He served as Drug Court and DUI court judge for Brown County. He and his wife, Dr. Virginia Trexler-Myren, have two daughters. The Fifth Supreme Court District includes Harding, Butte, Perkins, Corson, Ziebach, Dewey, Campbell, Walworth, Potter, McPherson, Edmunds, Faulk, Brown, Spink, Marshall, Day, Clark, Codington, Hamlin, Roberts, Grant, and Deuel Counties.

Children’s Rights Professor
University of Colorado

Warren Binford is an international children’s rights scholar and advocate whose work focuses on tackling some of the toughest challenges children face in the 21st century including child exploitation online and tech-facilitated child abuse. She frequently works in collaboration with children’s organizations, governments, nonprofits, and academics to build transnational, cross-disciplinary and solution-focused approaches to 21st century problems. She has published almost 100 works, given approximately 300 lectures worldwide, and received approximately 50 awards and distinctions for her work. Her media interviews have been featured in the New York Times, BBC, NPR, USA Today, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and many other outlets. Professor Binford is the inaugural W.H. Lea Endowed Chair for Justice in Pediatric Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Colorado where she is a tenured Professor of Pediatrics and a Professor of Law (by courtesy). She has a B.A. in Literature and Psychology, summa cum laude with distinction, and an Ed.M. in Early Childhood from Boston University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. A former foster parent and inner-city teacher, she spends her free time with her husband and children horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowboarding, and occasionally, climbing mountains.

Licensed Professional Counselor
Intermodal Interventions

A. R. Ascano is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado. Her education includes a PhD in Developmental Psychology, Master of Science in Clinical Psychology, and a Juris Doctorate. During her time as an attorney, her practice was child-focused as a guardian ad litem and custody investigator. She has continued this child-focused practice as a counselor with an emphasis on traumatic stress and adverse childhood experiences.

Assistant Attorney General

For seventeen years Alexis Tracy has served as a prosecuting attorney in the State of South Dakota. Alexis currently works for the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Litigation Division where she prosecutes a wide range of criminal offenses, primarily in the southeast region of the state, including: homicides, sex offenses, and child abuse cases.

Alexis previously served as the Clay County State’s Attorney and worked as a Deputy State’s Attorney in Union and Turner Counties. She served two terms as President of the South Dakota State’s Attorneys Association and served on the Association’s legislative committee. Since 2017, Alexis has been a part of a multidisciplinary team working with the SD Network Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence teaching and training prosecutors, law enforcement and victim’s advocates on best practices for response to domestic violence in South Dakota, as well as sexual assault cases.

Alexis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and her Juris Doctor degree both from the University of South Dakota. She has previously served as a volunteer for the Judiciary Branch for SD Girl’s State, as a guest lecturer for SD Drafting and Legal Practice course at USD Law School, and has taught Junior Achievement’s Excellence in Ethics to middle and high school students in Vermillion, SD where she lives with her husband Gerry and their two children. Alexis and Gerry are also former foster parents.

Former Lt. Governor

Matt Michels served as South Dakota’s 38th Lieutenant Governor from 2011-2019 with Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Matt was the President of the South Dakota Senate, was a leader in the construction of the new State Veterans Home in Hot Springs and served as the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He also worked closely with the National Guard and was the Chairman of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association.

Matt Michels was born in Pierre and grew up in Vermillion. After graduating from Vermillion High School, Matt attended the University of South Dakota where he worked as an orderly and EMT and earned a nursing degree in 1980. He worked as a nurse while he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in health services administration in 1982 and his juris doctorate in 1985, both from the University of South Dakota.

He was commissioned a United States Naval Officer in 1983 and served on many temporary assignments prior to his initial active duty station in the Republic of the Philippines. He was later transferred to Mayport, Florida. For his service LCDR Michels was awarded the U.S. Navy Achievement and Commendation Medals.

Although Matt and his wife Karen had the opportunity to make the Navy a career, they missed South Dakota and felt a strong need to return to be close to family. In 1989 the Michels moved to Yankton where Karen worked as an OB nurse and Matt joined a law practice with Don Bierle, practicing health care and hospital law along with other aspects of legal services to individuals and nonprofit organizations.

Matt has always had an intense desire to serve others. He was honored to represent District 18 as a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives for eight years from 1999 to 2006. While in the legislature, Matt served for two years as Speaker Pro Tempore and as Speaker of the House for four years. He was the first person to serve two terms as Speaker since the 1950s and holds the distinction of being the longest serving Legislative Presiding Officer in South Dakota history.