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Elizabeth Smart praises Penn State for conference

By Genaro C. Armas

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 4:24 p.m. MDT

Elizabeth Smart speaks to reporters regarding her advocacy of child protection and the healing process she has experienced, prior to her presentation at the Child Sexual Abuse Conference, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in State College, Pa. Smart was abducted in 2002 and held prisoner for nine months before being reunited with her family.

Ralph Wilson, Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Former kidnapping and sexual-abuse victim Elizabeth Smart has praised Penn State for a conference on child sexual abuse and its prevention after the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal.

Smart says the conference is an "incredible opportunity" to change how the university community and the rest of the country look at abuse victims. She was the keynote speaker Tuesday on the final day of the inaugural three-day conference.

Smart was kidnapped in Utah in 2002 at age 14 and was held captive for months. She says the best advice she received in her recovery is to lead a normal life as a way to punish her captor.

She's an outspoken advocate for protecting children from abuse through prevention and education.

Sandusky was convicted of abusing 10 boys, some on Penn State's campus. He maintains his innocence.

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