If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.
Gov. Janet Mills on Friday announced the people who will serve on a newly established advisory board on military sexual trauma, one of several measures her administration took after members of the Maine Army National Guard came forward in the Bangor Daily News and to lawmakers about a predatory culture inside the organization.
The permanent Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma, created by executive order in March, is tasked with improving the Maine National Guard’s response to sexual assault and harassment, and ensuring survivors have access to support. Its 10 members will provide its first set of recommendations to the governor by Dec. 1, with special attention paid to how the guard can better coordinate with local law enforcement to investigate reports of sexual violence and misconduct.
Empaneling the board is one of several steps officials are taking to investigate the guard since a BDN investigation exposed an unchecked pattern of sexual abuse on the Army side of the guard last fall, and soldiers pressed lawmakers to do something about it over a series of hearings this spring.
In addition to the advisory panel, Mills signed a bill authorizing the Office of the Maine Attorney General to probe the guard’s response to past reports of assault, among other reforms. The National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigation has also agreed to investigate the extent of the problem in Maine and identify flaws in its practices and policies.
Captain Dustin J. Martin, the guard’s provost marshal, who acts as a liaison to the civilian criminal justice system, will chair the new advisory council.
The other nine members range from sexual abuse prevention experts to law enforcement officials. They are:
— Aaron Frey, Maine’s attorney general
— Michael Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety
— Dale Lancaster, president of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association and Somerset County sheriff
— Elizabeth Ward Saxl, executive director of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
— First Lt. Rebecca Cornell du Houx, executive director of Sisters in Arms Center, an Augusta-based nonprofit that supports survivors of military trauma
— Lucia Chomeau Hunt, a lawyer on the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse
— Maeghan Maloney, president of the Maine Prosecutors Association and district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties
— Scott Stewart, of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and chief of the Brunswick Police Department
— Mary Rose Callain, the state’s military sexual trauma coordinator for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs