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Gainesville judge to speak at Vatican summit
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A U.S. District Court judge from Gainesville will join a selection of other judges to speak at the Vatican for a summit on human trafficking and organized crime.

Judge Richard W. Story will speak at the summit June 3-4 at the Vatican, where more than 60 in the legal profession will present on cases they’ve worked on.

“It is beyond any expectation I would ever have had,” Story said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to do it and feel very fortunate.”

The judge said he would likely present on a case from years ago that involved international human sex trafficking and the different issues that arose during the adjudication.

“It was interesting to me that (Pope Francis) wanted to hear from judges, and he wanted to hear from judges who had experience actually trying these types of cases,” Story said.

The Department of Justice has targeted the Atlanta area as one of the major hubs for sex trafficking in the country. Though Atlanta is often the focus, Story said some of the biggest cases he’s seen in his career have come outside of the main city area.

“I don’t think any community can assume they’re immune from this,” he said.

Story will join a handful of American jurists as well as judges from across the globe. The focus of the summit, Story said, would likely be putting together a list of best practices for tackling these issues.

“I think people of all faiths and even those that may not have a particular faith respect the pope and what he symbolizes in the world and his interest in human suffering and human issues,” Story said. “His attention to any issue causes it to rise to a new level of interest for all people.”

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