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    Mortgage Fraud Crisis, Research in Sex Assault Investigation Among Topics Examined in Forensic Fridays Series

    The Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law will explore a variety of topics, including fire investigation and computer forensics, during its Spring 2014 Forensic Fridays seminar series at Duquesne University.

    The continuing legal education (CLE) and professional education series is geared toward meeting the needs of legal and scientific professionals allied with the practice of forensic science.

    "We've chosen this season's topics with an eye toward both diversity and timeliness," explained Program Administrator Ben Wecht. "From new advances in fire and sexual assault investigation to forensic lessons from the mortgage fraud crisis to the law and science of responding to data breaches, this Forensic Fridays series has something to offer a wide range of professionals." The four-part series will feature the following seminars:

    • New Advances in Fire Investigation, Friday, Jan. 17, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
      This session will address how recent advances in the field of fire investigation are enabling more effective determination of the origins and causes of various types of conflagrations. Featuring Donald Brucker, chief deputy and K9 handler for the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office; Jason Constanzo, a detective in that office: and Nancy Love and Daniel Wolfe, scientists in the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.
    • Forensic Lessons from the Mortgage Fraud Crisis, Friday, Feb. 21, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
      In the wake of the recent mortgage fraud crisis, are there systems in place to prevent such a scenario from recurring? What can banking practitioners do to avoid falling off the straight and narrow as the market recovers? Presenters Brendan Conway, assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania; Rich Lord, investigative reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and author of American Nightmare: Predatory Lending and the Foreclosure of the American Dream; and other financial experts will explore these questions at this seminar.
    • The Role of Computer Forensics in Data Breach Response, Friday, March 21, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
      As reliance on digital data grows, so do data breaches, with consequences ranging from identity theft to disruption of businesses to privacy invasions. Presenters David G. Ries, a local attorney with years of experience in information security issues, and other experts from law enforcement and computer forensics organizations, will discuss various technical, legal, public relations, business and law enforcement issues involved in data breach incident response.
    • Emerging Topics and Current Research in Sexual Assault Investigation, Friday, April 11, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
      In the ongoing struggle to protect would-be victims from sexual predators, great advances are being made in forensic nursing research and practice, from strangulation assessment to the photographic documentation of injuries. Featured presenters at this daylong collaboration with the Duquesne University School of Nursing include UPMC Mercy sexual assault nurse examiner Debra Shane, Duquesne Nursing Professor Kathleen Sekula and other clinical and legal experts.

    All Forensic Friday seminars will be held in the Africa Room of the Duquesne Union.

    Discounts are available for Duquesne University alumni and groups of five or more people. For more information and to register, visit, call 412-396-1330 or email

    Duquesne University

    Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.