Experts to speak at UHV forum on sexual offenses

A forum on sexual offenses will examine both the forensic and psychological aspects of these crimes on Thursday at the University of Houston-Victoria.

The forum will be from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the UHV University Center Multi-Purpose Room, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. There is no charge for admission.

“The forum is presented as a multidisciplinary perspective on sex offenses such as rape and child molestation,” said Esperanza Camargo, UHV assistant professor of criminal justice, and co-sponsor of the forum with Catherine Perz, UHV director of Forensic Psychology Master of Arts program. “We want to learn more about the law and how particular offenders are treated from both the psychological and criminal perspectives.”

Perz said the complex topic affects the population in many ways.

“There is no single way to understand this area, and we wanted to present it through several disciplines, including psychology, criminal justice, biology and the law,” Perz said.

Camargo added that there is a myth that sexual offenses are among strangers.

“The majority of sexual offenses occur either at home or among friends and acquaintances,” she said.

The schedule will be as follows:

  1. 12:30 to 1 p.m. – Registration
  2. 1 to 1:30 – “The Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators in Texas,” forensic psychologist Paul Hamilton
  3. 1:30 to 2 – “Profile of the Incarcerated Sex Offender: Dealing with Mental Health Needs and Other Issues During Incarceration,” Trina Gordon, UHV assistant professor of psychology, clinical and forensic psychologist
  4. 2 to 2:30 – “Forensic DNA Studies in Capital Murder and Assault Cases in South Texas,” Richard Gunasekera, UHV professor of biology
  5. 2:30 to 3 – “The Interrelation Between the Forensic Sciences and the Legal System,” attorney Elliott Costas
  6. 3 to 3:30 – Question and answer session

Perz said UHV’s forensic psychology master’s degree and the criminal justice programs fit together well for this forum.

“Forensic psychology is the study of psychology and the law, and criminal justice is the study of crime, the causes of crime and the societal response,” Perz said. “This forum represents a natural partnership and is a continuation of our collaboration with the criminal justice program.”

Perz said the master’s program also provides students with the qualifications to pursue their Licensed Professional Counselor credential in Texas.

“Our goal is to prepare students for clinical work in all kinds of forensic settings, whether that is treatment in the prison system or working with private forensic psychology groups,” Perz said. “There are relatively few forensic psychology graduate programs available nationwide, so we are very excited about the university’s new opportunities.”

The forum is open to the public, faculty, staff and students. For more information, email Camargo at or Perz at

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342