Nali Adesso is a licensed mental health counselor and EMDR therapist in Washington State who has been working with trauma survivors since 2015. Nali specializes in the treatment of trauma in the LGBTQ+ community and the neurodivergent community, and frequently works with clients recovering from religious child maltreatment. Nali brings both personal and professional experience to the cause of raising awareness about religious child maltreatment and promoting the rights of children in abusive religious environments. A member of the Board of Directors for over four years, Nali now serves on the Board of Advisors to consult on the intersection between religious trauma and mental health issues.
Marla Broaddus has practiced law in a variety of settings for the last 20 years. As a litigator, she has helped clients with business and personal matters of all kinds. She believes the civil justice system should offer a broad array of relief and protection for abuse victims. She advocates for a system that does not favor religious belief over autonomy and safety. Marla dedicated nearly a decade to serving on the board of an organization that provides free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. She is honored to serve on the CFFP Board and hopes to help the organization continue to reveal and put a stop to religious child maltreatment and support those recovering from it.
Christa Brown has written extensively about clergy sex abuse and church cover-ups in the Southern Baptist Convention, and she is often quoted on the subject in national and international media. Described as “the public face” of Baptist clergy abuse survivors, Christa has been a longtime advocate for reform in the SBC and was the first to propose a Baptist clergy sex abuser database. She is the author of a combination memoir/exposé, This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang, which was praised in a London Times review characterizing Christa as “a whistleblower of historic proportions.” Christa is a former member of the board of directors for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), and she had a 25-year career as an appellate attorney.
Vince Cavasin (Marketing Consultant) has been working in marketing-related disciplines since 1995. His company, Value Intersect Consulting LLC, specializes in helping companies rigorously and holistically evaluate interaction points across the entire customer journey. His experience spans product strategy and management, brand building, demand generation, sales enablement, omni-channel marketing communications and omni-channel commerce for companies ranging from small startups to some of the world’s top retailers. Vince lives in Austin with his wife and son.
Raffi Cavoukian is a renowned Canadian songwriter and performer, author, ecology advocate, and entrepreneur. Once called “the most popular children’s entertainer in the western world” by the Washington Post, Raffi has built his career on the core value of respect for the child as a whole person. His philosophy of Child Honouring is gaining support among eminent thinkers as a holistic organizing principle for a culture of peace. With three honorary degrees, Raffi is a respected international figure. His CDs, books, and videos have sold over 15 million copies. Raffi is also a keynote presenter, lecturing and networking to help create a sustainable, child-friendly world.
Joel Engelman was raised in the insular Hasidic community of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, where he received a minimal education and endured physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by the teachers of his yeshiva. Joel has been a strong voice in raising awareness about child sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology.
Steven Hassan, PhD, has been educating the public about mind control, controlling groups, and destructive cults since 1976. At the age of nineteen, Steven was deceptively recruited into the Unification Church. After serving as a high-ranking official in the organization, he escaped through deprogramming. Steven is the founder of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center and has written several books on how cults harm adults and children, including Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults and Beliefs. Steven addresses hundreds of campus, religious, and professional organizations throughout the world and is often asked by the media to answer questions about mind control. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Nationally Certified Counselor.
Janet Heimlich, who founded CFFP in 2012, is an award-winning journalist and the author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, the first book to fully examine the issue of child abuse and neglect enabled by religious belief. Bishop John Shelby Spong described it as “insightful, provocative, exposing,” and novelist Anne Rice called it “well researched and well written.” Prior to becoming a child advocate, Janet was a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, work for which she won more than ten journalism awards and honorable mentions, and she wrote nonfiction articles for such publications as Texas Monthly and the Texas Observer. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in communications and a minor in English. Janet is a professional copywriter who lives in Maine.
Connie Kvarfordt, PhD, is a researcher and social work educator with 13 years’ practice experience, mainly in the area of mental health working with children and adolescents (school social worker, juvenile court intake officer, child and family therapist, teen crisis-line supervisor). Currently a professor at the University of Windsor, in Ontario, her scholarship focuses on increasing our knowledge base about social work practitioners’ ethical integration of the human dimension of spirituality, at the individual and community level as well as its application to social justice. Her publications include looking at the factors predicting the use of religious/spirituality-based interventions in working with children and youth including the frequency in which social workers encountered religious/spiritual abuse and neglect of this population.
Hemant Mehta is the founder and editor of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, and podcast co-host. He is a former National Board Certified math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He has appeared on CNN and FOX News and served on the board of directors for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Student Alliance.
Paul A. Offit, MD, is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Paul is the recipient of many awards, such as the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, as well as the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Paul has published more than 140 papers in medical and scientific journals and numerous books in the areas of vaccine safety.
Dan Patterson is a business executive and philanthropist in Dallas. He is the founder of Patterson Thoma Family Office, a privately held family investment holding company and serves as a member of the Finance Committee of the Texas Trees Foundation. He is a board member of Friends of Aldredge House, a historic museum, and Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery. Dan is an underwriter of the Dallas Arboretum, a member of the host committee of the Dallas Zoo and an active member of No Labels, a non-partisan organization that encourages cooperation between political parties in the U.S. Congress. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Dan graduated from Kenyon College and Harvard Business School. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys spending time with his two children, son-in-law, and granddaughter.
James Puglisi, DMin, has worked in higher education for over 25 years, most recently as Associate Director of Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where he focused on worldview and religious diversity work. His doctoral thesis, from Catholic Theological Union, is titled “Shalom: The Role of Truth Telling in Creating Communities of Racial Reconciliation within Institutions of Christian Higher Education.” As a cis-gendered white male, he is committed to his own personal development in JEDI work (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion), focusing on education, reconciliation, and restorative practices that address the issues of white privilege, white Christian privilege, Christianity and systemic racism, colonialism and white privilege, and interfaith capacity-building. In his free time, he remains involved with the local rugby community and is an avid swing, salsa, and tango dancer.
Victor Vieth, JD, serves as the Executive Director of theNational Child Protection Training Center, a state of the art training complex located on the campus of Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. Equipped with moot courtrooms, forensic interview rooms, and a “mock house” in which to conduct simulated child abuse investigations, NCPTC provides intensive instruction for undergraduate students and current professionals in the field of child abuse. A former prosecutor, Victor has trained thousands of child protection professionals throughout the United States and seventeen other countries. He was named to the President’s Honor Roll of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. The Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association named him one of the “21 Young Lawyers Leading us Into the 21st Century.”