staff

[Position mouse pointer over a name at left to view staff member biography.]

Alicia Benedetto is a licensed clinical psychologist and forensic interviewer. Her undergraduate degree in psychology is from New York University and her doctorate in clinical psychology is from St. John’s University, also in New York. She completed an accredited internship at the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute in Columbia, South Carolina and has been providing forensic interviews and evaluations at the ARC since 2001. Additionally, Dr. Benedetto provides therapy, court preparation, expert witness testimony, and consultation services. She has been on the faculty of Finding Words South Carolina (now ChildFirst) since 2001 and trains nationally on areas relevant to child abuse professionals.
Ms. Fairnot graduated from Midlands Technical College as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She assists with medical exams, coordinates all laboratory testing done at the ARC, and acts as liaison for the Multidisciplinary Team in Lexington County. She has worked with the Department of Mental Health since 1973 and has experience with many specialized populations.
Dr. Foster has been the Program Director of the DMHARC since 1995. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and English Literature at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and her Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She is also Assistant Professor in the USC School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science. Dr. Foster conducts forensic interviews and comprehensive evaluations of suspected victims of child maltreatment, provides expert court testimony, trains nationally and conducts clinical research. Among her professional affiliations, she is a past president of the South Carolina Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (SCPSAC) and a frequent trainer for the American Prosecutors Research Institute, the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the National Child Protection Training Center.
Dr. Luberoff serves as our pediatrician, providing medical examinations, consultation, education and court testimony, as well as inpatient consultation at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital. She graduated from the USC School of Medicine in 1983, and completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital at Richland Memorial. Dr. Luberoff is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics with the USC School of Medicine, is board-certified in Pediatrics, and has extensive experience in working with specialized populations, including medically complicated children.
Raymond J. Olszewski, LMSW, AFSW. Born in Manhasset, NY, Mr. Olszewski graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina and was awarded the Diplomate in Forensic Social Work through the Academy of Forensic Social Work. Mr. Olszewski has worked as both a Child Protective Services caseworker and supervisor. Mr. Olszewski currently works as a forensic evaluator and trainer at the Assessment and Resource Center (DMHARC) in Columbia, SC and is a member of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science’s Clinical Faculty Practice Plan. Mr. Olszewski has conducted hundreds of child interviews. He also manages the county-wide multi-disciplinary case review team, which meets regularly to coordinate child abuse investigations.
Heather M. Smith, MRC, LPC is a forensic evaluator and psychotherapist. Ms. Smith has worked extensively with children and adolescents in outpatient, inpatient, and group home settings. She trains across disciplines on evidence-based interventions with maltreated children, complex trauma in children and adolescents, and best practice forensic interviewing techniques, such as Finding Words (a best practice forensic interview training coordinated through the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), to law enforcement officers, social workers, judges, and prosecutors). She has presented on interviewing child victims of sexual exploitation at international trainings in Africa, Central America, and Thailand with the FBI and the US Department of Justice. In addition, she works closely with the Richland County Multidisciplinary Team and the Sexual Assault Response Team to ensure comprehensive services are provided to children who have been maltreated and their non-offending family members. Ms. Smith is currently conducting a research project regarding the question of competency and truth-telling in young children.
Virginia Spell has served as an administrative assistant at the DMHARC since January 2009. Her job duties include registering new patients, billing for medical exams, and logging complex records associated with ongoing court cases. She received her undergraduate degree in English at Columbia College in Columbia, SC, and her Masters in Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina.
Nicole Williams is the DMHARC Victim Advocate. She provides support to families and non-offending caregivers of our clients by ensuring they have access to resources, immediate and on-going assistance with referrals, and serves as a critical link between the families with investigators and other legal and medical officials. She also coordinates the Richland County Child Abuse Investigation Multi-Disciplinary Team. Ms. Williams received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She is a certified Victim Services Provider through the South Carolina Office of Victim Services, is an associate member of The South Carolina Law Enforcement Victims Advocate Association, and represents the DMHARC on Richland County's Sexual Assault Response Team.