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Robert J. Peters is Senior Attorney at Zero Abuse Project, where he develops and delivers state-of-the-art training and comprehensive technical assistance to child abuse prosecutors and allied professionals. Robert is the creator and lead instructor of the STARK (Stopping Technology-Facilitated Abuse of Rural Kids) Prosecutor Symposium. Previously, Robert worked as the Senior Cyber and Economic Crime Attorney & General Counsel with the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), where his efforts included providing subject matter expertise on topics and training related to technology-facilitated child exploitation, and acting as lead instructor for NW3C’s Judges & Prosecutors courses.
Mr. Peters served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and Special Prosecutor in multiple West Virginia jurisdictions, where he specialized in the prosecution of sexual offenses, online child exploitation, and juvenile crime. Robert authored several child protection-related articles in peer-reviewed publications, including the Florida Journal of International Law, Mitchell Hamline Law Review, Handbook on Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan, and Christian Ethics Today. While in law school, Peters clerked at the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia.
Prior to serving as prosecutor, Robert designed comprehensive child protection policies for numerous entities including educational institutions, churches, and parachurch organizations. He assisted the nonprofit GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) by providing legal support and serving as an investigator of abuse perpetrated in the context of faith communities.
Mr. Peters is the founder and chair of SHIELD Task Force, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with Child Advocacy Centers and local stakeholders to encourage reporting of sexual abuse and online safety. This initiative has brought age-appropriate abuse prevention education to thousands of school-aged children and numerous civic and community groups. Mr. Peters also serves on the WV Child Advocacy Network (WVCAN) Board of Directors and WV Human Trafficking Task Force. In 2019, Robert received the WV State Police Center for Children’s Justice Extra Mile Award for demonstrated professional leadership and personal commitment in going the Extra Mile on behalf of children and families.
Typically, church members and leaders side with the perpetrator against the victim. This article imagines a different reality, where the Church manifests a love for God through a love for survivors, and how such support would fuel a social, economic, and spiritual revolution.
Protecting children must not be a niche ministry, or an add-on, or a box we have to check for legal purposes. Child protection is an urgent, sacred calling with eternal stakes. What we do for the least of these, we do for Christ. With that in mind, here is a non-comprehensive list of important ways churches can show and share Christ’s love for abuse survivors.
In 2013, USA Swimming commissioned Victor Vieth, Executive Director of the National Child Protection Training Center, to conduct a comprehensive assessment of USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Program. Vieth conducted his assessment from September 2013 to December 2013 and delivered his report (“Vieth Report”) with 39 recommended actions to the USA Swimming Board of Directors in January 2014.
This Forensic Focus podcast episode includes a discussion of major case law and global legislation affecting digital forensic examiners and law enforcement, including the trajectory of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and the exponential increase of child sexual abuse material.
In a quarterly roundup of the latest legal developments around digital forensic evidence, Robert contributed analysis on U.S. border searches and pertinent legal thresholds. One focus was United States v. Wanjiku, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case upholding a warrantless border search that discovered child sexual abuse material.