Professional Workshop: A Behavioral Analysis of Sexual Misconduct


Friday, Nov. 22nd, 9am-12pm


Rowan College at Gloucester County, 1400 Tanyard Road, Deptford Township, NJ

Cost: $61 for professionals/$21 for students (includes the convenience fee)

*Presentation will take place in Lecture Hall* / Park in Lot E and proceed to Building D – Business Corp Center and into the Lecture Hall

About the Presentation

This presentation will address issues of sexual misconduct with a specific focus on sexual harassment. Sexual harassment will be defined and explored as a type of gender-based harassment using the framework of behavior analysis. We will examine contingencies that promote and maintain sexual harassment and influence its reporting, review literature and prevalence data, discuss ethical implications, provide examples of sexual harassment affecting the field of behavior analysis, describe current research, and share recommendations for detecting, preventing, and responding to sexual harassment across settings.

About the Presenters

Melinda Desmarais, MA, BCBA

Melinda Desmarais has practiced behavior analysis in a variety of applied settings since 2007. Her primary areas of focus are Autism, Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities, and various Mental Health Disorders. She has worked under Dr. Richard Foxx providing consultation and clinical case management for children, adolescents, and young adults with high-risk and complex behavioral needs. Melinda is currently the Clinical Director of a residential & behavioral services provider serving adult individuals in their homes, workplaces, and communities. Melinda has also taught and guest-lectured for several courses in psychology and behavior analysis at Penn State Harrisburg and Harrisburg Area Community College. She currently participates in a nationwide ABA workgroup focused on issues of harassment & discrimination. She also serves as Secretary for the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis.

Valerie A. LaCerra, M.A., BCBA

Valerie LaCerra is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) practicing in central Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg, where she studied attention’s role in acquisition skills for preschoolers. She studied and practiced clinically under Dr. Richard Foxx, consulting on cases of clients with high-risk behaviors, and currently works with clients ranging from preschoolers to adults. Her masters project focused on regulations governing disability services for adults, which was included in the book Controversial Therapies for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice (2nd Ed.). She is currently studying sexual misconduct in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, including prevalence and possible maintaining contingencies, and participates in a nation-wide group of behavior analysts focusing on sexual harassment and discrimination in ABA.

What to Expect

  • Attendees will be able to operationally define sexual harassment.

  • Attendees will be able to identify social contingencies that promote and maintain sexual harassment.

  • Attendees will be able to develop antecedent and consequence interventions to prevent and reduce sexual harassment behavior.

Professional Development Certificates Available

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3.0 Ethics CEU's (BCBA)

Gloucester County Special Services School District is an approved provider of BCBA Type II continuing education credits (BACB ACE Provider OP -19-3009). Disclaimer: "The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) does not sponsor, approve, or endorse Gloucester County Special Services, the materials, information, or sessions identified herein."