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The University announced Tuesday that local attorney Deborah A. Harley has been appointed as Penn’s new sexual violence investigative officer, making her the second person to be hired for the position. Harley will succeed current investigative officer Christopher Mallios, who recently won election to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. 

As sexual violence investigative officer, Harley will be the principal investigator for student complaints under Penn’s Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence and Stalking policy, which applies to students enrolled in all twelve Penn schools. She will also be responsible for helping students and faculty better understand the process through which Penn responds to reports of sexual violence.

“Ms. Harley is terrific for this position,” Mallios told the Almanac. “She truly understands the dynamics of campus sexual misconduct and has a proven track record of working collaboratively with other responders.”

Prior to her appointment, Harley practiced family and criminal law at Marino & Conroy, a Center City law firm. She previously worked for nearly 23 years in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, including six years as Chief of the Office’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. She also co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence and spent six years on the Philadelphia Sexual Assault Advisory Council. In 2010, she testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support a bill allowing expert witnesses in sexual assault jury trials, according to Pa. House records.

“Ms. Harley’s current and former colleagues spoke of her unwavering commitment to ensuring that all parties are treated with dignity and respect resulted in a well-earned reputation for a relentless pursuit of the truth,” Penn’s Vice President for Institutional Affairs Joann Mitchell told the Almanac.

Harley also prosecuted numerous child abuse and domestic violence cases while at the District Attorney’s Office, according to her Marino & Conroy website biography.

Mallios will be working closely with Harley as she transitions into her new role. She told the Almanac that she will “ensure that all parties continue to be treated equitably and with respect throughout the process.”

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