Sexual Assault in the #MeToo Era Is Everyone's Issue
Blank Rome Partner Shawn M. Wright will serve as a co-moderator for the “Sexual Assault in the #MeToo Era Is Everyone's Issue” CLE panel at the National Bar Association's ("NBA") 95th Annual Convention & Exhibits on Monday, July 27, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT. This panel is hosted by the NBA Veterans Affairs and Military Law Section in collaboration with the Minority Partners in Majority Firms Division.
Blank Rome is also proud to be a sponsor of this year’s virtual convention, which will be held July 25‒29, 2020, and provide attendees with numerous learning, networking, and exhibit opportunities.
CLE Program Description
In this time of protest and hopefully progress on many fronts, some issues cannot be forgotten. Since the fall of 2017, the #Metoo movement has resulted in hundreds of thousands of women disclosing their experiences with sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault. This has spawned follow-on movements and memes such as #Believewomen and #Time’sUp for alleged offenders. The #Metoo movement has contributed to the forced resignation of a U.S. Senator, the downfall of a media mogul, and the prosecution and conviction of a television and film star for sexual assault. The #Metoo movement has led corporate America to examine its practices in terms of conducting inquiries into sexual assault allegations and an examination of its overall corporate culture. Employment lawyers have to balance investigating allegations and taking action against wrongdoers while at the same time protecting the company’s brand.
Meanwhile in the criminal world, both civilian and military practitioners have to contend with sexual assault cases—already generally difficult to prove—being seen through the lens of #Timesup and #Believewomen. Just like its civilian cohort, the military has also been affected by the #Metoo movement, with women and men coming forward in greater numbers to disclose sexual abuse. In fact, sexual assault in the military received much earlier attention than the "MeToo Movement." So in response to a growing number of allegations and sex assault cases, the military created Special Victims Prosecutors who are expertly trained to handle and prosecute these very difficult matters. Of note, sex assault cases are even more complicated in the military by the fact that it is commanders, not trained military prosecutors, who ultimately decide whether or not to punish alleged offenders for sexual harassment or sexual assault.
The goal of this panel is to expose NBA lawyers to the complexities of handling sexual assault cases and employment matters in the "Me Too" era by comparing and contrasting military and civilian criminal prosecutions and discussing the employment and administrative issues born in the #Metoo era. Lastly, this CLE hopes to encourage NBA members in different practice areas to undertake cases both in military and civilian jurisdictions.
- Shawn M. Wright, Partner and Washington, D.C., Office Co-Chair, Blank Rome LLP
- Major Jeremy D. Broussard, Associate Professor of Criminal Law, The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School
- Sharyn Tejani, Director, Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund
- LTC Yvonne Sallis, Former prosecutor and Deputy Army Special Victim Counsel program
- Kevin D. Reese, Principal, Jackson Lewis P.C.
- Ellen Davis, Managing Director and Litigation Practice Co-Chair, Sard Verbinnen
- Eric R. Carpenter, Associate Professor of Law, Florida International University – College of Law, Retired – U.S. Army JAG Lieutenant Colonel, and former military prosecutor
Participants are eligible to receive Continuing Legal Education ("CLE") credit for attending this virtual program.