Press Releases

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

SART Press Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Grant Approves Sex Crimes Deputy for Prosecutor – August 14, 2009

PRESS RELEASE
August 14, 2009
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670

FEDERAL GRANT APPROVES SEX CRIMES DEPUTY FOR PROSECUTOR

The Office of Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal has been approved to receive $161,833 through a federal grant to fund a new sex crimes deputy prosecutor for the period of two years. Gaal’s office applied for the funding under the STOP Recovery Act proposed by President Obama in an effort to stimulate jobs and stabilize the economy.

Gaal welcomed news of the grant’s approval, saying, “A strong commitment to public safety as an essential government service becomes even more important during a recession.”

The new sex crimes deputy prosecutor position is proposed to oversee a caseload specializing in felony sexual assault and child molestation charges. According to Gaal, dedicating a single person to handle sex crime cases is a best practice that has been implemented in numerous other jurisdictions around the country. Currently, sex crimes in Monroe County are handled alongside a general felony caseload such as repeat drunk driving offenses and serious battery.

“Sexual assault cases are among the most difficult we conduct,” said Gaal. “There are unique issues related to forensic medical evidence and eliciting testimony from rape survivors and child witnesses. Having one person to invest in training and to accumulate expertise in these cases should result in better service to the community.”

The federal grant will last for two years, and will require county council approval before it can be implemented. “Even if funding for this position disappears in two years, it will still have been worth it to develop increased expertise in these cases within our office,” Gaal said.

New Community Initiatives Focus on Sexual Assault – August 27, 2009

PRESS RELEASE
August 27, 2009
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670

NEW COMMUNITY INITIATIVES FOCUS ON SEXUAL ASSAULT

Bloomington, IN – Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal, along with representatives from Bloomington Hospital, Indiana University, law enforcement, and others, today announced the creation of a new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) designed to improve the community’s response to sexual assault incidents. For the last two years, Gaal has spearheaded an effort to draft a written protocol to coordinate the community’s response to sexual assault incidents, and led fundraising efforts to assist in the creation of a new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program at Bloomington Hospital. Both the SART Protocol and the SANE program are now ready to be implemented.

The new protocol describes the SART as a community-based effort to coordinate resources to respond effectively to sexual assault incidents and collect evidence with sensitivity for the victim. The protocol encourages sexual assault victims to obtain a forensic medical examination from a SANE nurse to document injuries and preserve evidence that can be later used to prosecute the perpetrator. Victims will have the right to choose whether or not to report the incident to law enforcement. In the event a victim chooses not to report, evidence from the forensic medical examination will be stored under a confidential number for one year.

“It is important that victims be empowered to decide whether or not they want to report,” Gaal said. “Often they need time to talk to friends, family and counselors in order to make that decision and come forward. In the meantime, we want to keep the door open by ensuring that the best available evidence is collected, documented, and preserved.”

The SART Protocol calls for an immediate response by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a Victim Advocate, and a law enforcement officer.

The SANE is a nurse with special training to conduct a forensic medical examination to treat and document injuries, provide medical information to the victim, and properly collect evidence using the State Police “Rape Kit.” Grants from the Bloomington Hospital Foundation as well as County and City government were used to help create the SANE program at Bloomington Hospital.

“Several of our nurses have already completed the SANE training, and we are committed to additional training so that we can provide this important service to the community with 24/7 on call availability,” said Bloomington Hospital Vice President of Patient Care Services Ruth Ann Morris.

Victim advocates respond to victim questions, provide support and comfort, help explain the hospital exam process, and describe available legal options. On-site advocacy services are provided at both local hospitals by Middle Way House and at the I.U. Health Center by the Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS.) “We have been providing around the clock on-scene services for survivors of rape and sexual assault since 1992. We are keenly aware of the need for the protocol and the services of sexual assault nurse examiners, and are very pleased to be part of this community-wide effort,” said Middle Way Crisis Intervention Services Coordinator Leila Voyles.

In the event a victim chooses not to report the incident, law enforcement will store the “rape kit” under a confidential number for one year, giving the victim time to reconsider their decision. If a non-reporting victim chooses to report at a later time, law enforcement will then conduct a criminal investigation.

“There is a real benefit to having police sitting at the table with the hospital, Middle Way House, the university, and the prosecutor, and talking about how we can all work together to improve these investigations,” said Sheriff Jim Kennedy in support of the SART.

The SART also produced a brochure that will be distributed both to sexual assault victims and the general public to explain the new program. The question and answer format brochure explains topics such as “What Is Sexual Assault?” “Who Is There To Help Me?” “What Can I Expect?” and “What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Assaulted?”

The SART includes participation from both local hospitals, local law enforcement agencies, Middle Way House, and several organizations affiliated with Indiana University. In order to explain the new procedures, the Prosecutor’s Office has organized a free training for participating SART members on September 22, 2009. The training will review the Protocol and include a panel discussion with representatives from Bloomington Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana University Police Department, and the Indiana State Police. Continuing education credits will be available for law enforcement attending the training. Representatives from the Bloomington Hospital SANE Program, Middle Way House, and the State Police crime lab will also present information.

The SART will also promote a public education campaign aimed at preventing sexual assault among college students and encouraging reporting. “Got Consent? Ask,” reads a locally-designed poster showing a series of falling dominos. The campaign hopes to educate students about the meaning of consent, emphasizing the message “Only yes means yes!”

“Federal statistics show that women in college are more at risk to be sexually assaulted than at any other time in their lives,” says Debbie Melloan of the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service. “Education is extremely important to cause change. Sex without consent is a crime, and there can be serious consequences.”

Dee Owens with the I.U. Alcohol and Drug Information Center agrees that education is a key prevention strategy, “A majority of these cases involve high blood-alcohol levels. No one can give consent unless conscious and aware. Students who use alcohol or other drugs to obtain sex must understand these actions are criminal and endanger their status at I.U.”

Both the Owen County and Greene County prosecutors plan to model similar SART Programs based on the Protocol developed in Monroe County. Owen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Robert Andree says, “Most of our sexual assault victims go to Bloomington Hospital, so it makes sense that we take advantage of this new program.”

New Campus-Community Initiatives Focus on Sexual Assault – August 27, 2009

New campus-community initiatives focus on sexual assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 27, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University officials joined representatives from local government, medical providers, law enforcement agencies and other organizations today (Aug. 27) to announce the creation of a new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) designed to improve the community’s response to sexual assault incidents.

Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal spearheaded the drafting of a written protocol to coordinate responses to sexual assault incidents, and led fundraising efforts to help create a new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program at Bloomington Hospital. Both the SART protocol and the SANE program are now ready to be implemented.

The protocol describes the SART as a community-based effort to coordinate resources to respond effectively to sexual assault incidents and collect evidence with sensitivity for the victim. It encourages sexual assault victims to obtain a forensic medical examination from a SANE nurse to document injuries and preserve evidence that can be later used for prosecution.

“It is important that victims be empowered to decide whether or not they want to report,” Gaal said in a news conference at the IU Bloomington Sample Gates. “Often they need time to talk to friends, family and counselors in order to make that decision and come forward. In the meantime, we want to keep the door open by ensuring that the best available evidence is collected, documented and preserved.”
The SART will promote a public education campaign aimed at preventing sexual assault among college students and encouraging reporting. “Got Consent? Ask,” reads a locally-designed poster showing a series of falling dominos. The campaign hopes to educate students about the meaning of consent, emphasizing the message “Only yes means yes!”

“This is very important for our students and for the community as a whole,” said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. “We will be taking very seriously the educational part of the mission as well as the response part of the mission.”

“Federal statistics show that women in college are more at risk to be sexually assaulted than at any other time in their lives,” added Debbie Melloan of the Sexual Assault Crisis Service at IU Bloomington. “Education is extremely important to cause change. Sex without consent is a crime, and there can be serious consequences.”

Dee Owens with the IU Alcohol and Drug Information Center agrees that education is a key prevention strategy. “A majority of these cases involve high blood-alcohol levels,” she said. “No one can give consent unless conscious and aware. Students who use alcohol or other drugs to obtain sex must understand these actions are criminal and endanger their status at IU.”

The SART protocol calls for an immediate response by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a victim advocate and a law enforcement officer. The SANE is a nurse with special training to conduct a forensic medical examination to treat and document injuries, provide medical information to the victim, and properly collect evidence using the State Police “rape kit.”

Grants from the Bloomington Hospital Foundation and Monroe County and Bloomington government helped create the SANE program at Bloomington Hospital. Several nurses have completed SANE training, and Bloomington Hospital is committed to providing the service with 24/7 on call availability, said Vice President of Patient Care Services Ruth Ann Morris.

Victim advocates respond to victim questions, provide support and comfort, help explain the hospital exam process, and describe available legal options. On-site advocacy services are provided at the two hospitals in Bloomington by Middle Way House and at the IU Health Center by the Sexual Assault Crisis Service.

In the event a victim chooses not to report an incident, law enforcement will store the “rape kit” under a confidential number for one year, giving the victim time to reconsider the decision. If a non-reporting victim chooses to report at a later time, law enforcement will then conduct a criminal investigation.

The SART also produced a brochure that will be distributed both to sexual assault victims and the general public to explain the new program. The question-and-answer format brochure explains topics such as “What Is Sexual Assault?” “Who Is There To Help Me?” “What Can I Expect?” and “What Should I Do If I Have Been Sexually Assaulted?”

The SART includes participation from local hospitals, local law enforcement agencies, Middle Way House, and several organizations affiliated with Indiana University. In order to explain the new procedures, the prosecutor’s office has organized a free training for participating SART members on Sept. 22. Prosecutors from neighboring Owen and Greene counties plan to model SART programs based on the Protocol developed in Monroe County.

Gentle Detectives: Nurses Specifically Trained to Handle Sexual Assault Cases – September 21, 2009

Gentle detectives: Nurses specifically trained to handle sexual assault cases
By Nicole Brooks 331-4232 | nbrooks@heraldt.com
September 21, 2009

If a police officer or paramedic brings you to Bloomington Hospital’s emergency room after a rape, a nurse will likely be waiting for you at the doors that lead from the carport to the ER, next to stacks and stacks of clean folded laundry.

If you drive yourself, you’ll pull in a parking garage and enter the hospital under the bright orange Emergency sign. A triage nurse at the desk will call a special nurse to your side once they hear why you have come to the ER.

There are three such nurses: Susan Berwick, April Haskett and Beth Hillan-Bearsch.
They have received specialized training on what to do for you. In the simplest terms, “We combine the nursing care aspect with the forensic collection,” Haskett said.
And more nurses will join their ranks in the months to come.

Monroe County, law enforcement and health and education leaders announced in late August the formation of a new response team and other tactics designed to prevent sexual assault, and to treat victims when an assault does occur.

Spearheaded by county prosecutor Chris Gaal, the Sexual Assault Response Team brings together local representatives from many arenas, from the county sheriff’s office and Middle Way House to the Indiana University Dean of Students and IU police.

More than 60 people, including 14 Bloomington Police Department detectives, will attend the first local Sexual Assault Response Team training Tuesday. The four-hour training day includes overviews of the response team protocol and its implementation, a session on understanding a rape kit, and descriptions of the role of the victim’s advocate and a nurse designated as a SANE nurse.

It is these nurses, who have completed a much more involved course called SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training, who will take care of you at Bloomington Hospital.

The process in the ER

After perhaps 10 minutes in a triage room, where your vitals, including blood pressure, will be checked, your SANE nurse will introduce herself. She’ll explain everything that will go on the next few hours, stressing it can take some time, from an hour and a half to three or four hours.
Just consoling someone can take a half-hour, Berwick said.

Women have turned away and left after being told what will happen and how long it will take.
If you choose to stay, your nurse will lead you from the triage room. She’ll enter numbers on a keypad, causing large double doors to swing open. You’ll walk to Room 19, the room for sexual assault exams. It is cold, with muted turquoise walls.

You can bring someone with you — a friend, your mother — or not.

“At this point the patient calls the shots. Whoever they want in the room is fine with me,” Haskett said.

A Middle Way House victim advocate is called to be at your side. These advocates are invaluable, the nurses say, especially with follow-up work. They provide information on the sex crimes victim fund, which pays for counseling, among other programs.

A police officer may stay in Room 19 at the beginning to ask questions while your memories are fresh. The nurses stay with you during the police interview.

There’s a clean white sheet covering a soft single bed. The nurses will have you keep your clothes on as long as possible, because, they say, you already feel violated.

They swab your mouth to collect DNA. They have you floss your teeth, because DNA can often be found there as well.

Then they’ll try to get you to eat and drink.

“It’s just part of comfort measures,” Haskett said. “Sometimes they’re nauseous,” and a little Sprite helps. Plus, you can’t take STD medications on an empty stomach.

Paperwork and the exam

There’s paperwork to do — a consent form for the exam, a release of information form for police, a five-page questionnaire with such questions as “have you had consenting sexual relations within 96 hours?” They’ll offer you a telephone if you need to make a call, perhaps to arrange child care, Haskett said.

Out comes a blue light flashlight. The nurse will turn off the overhead lights, don a pair of orange shades, and shine on your clothes a flashlight that illuminates urine, blood, semen and nearly anything else dried on your clothing, including laundry soap. Not knowing what is important to document and what isn’t, a nurse will take photographs with one of the two cameras they have, and collect samples of everything.

The lights now on, you’re given a plastic guitar pick. You use it to scrape under your fingernails over a white piece of paper, to catch any skin lodged there. The paper is carefully folded and put back in its envelope.

You’ll lean over another paper and comb your hair forward with a black plastic comb. There is a separate, similar comb for pubic hair, and later you’ll do the same combing while standing over another paper.

The nurses will want to draw blood to collect a DNA standard. Needles can be upsetting, so if a patient wants to wait for another time, that’s OK, Berwick said.

“She’s in control. Her declining to do part of the exam will not make or break the case,” Haskett said.
Next they spread a sterile, rectangular white cloth on the floor and have you stand in the middle. You’ll take all your clothes off as a nurse holds a sheet in front of you. You’ll put your clothing in four piles, one on each corner of the sheet — pants here, shirt there, socks, and so on. They’ll take your underwear from you. Any clothing with blood or other stains, they’ll also keep.

They’ll measure any bruises with a ruler. They’ll look your piles of clothing and your body over with the blue light and the naked eye for small pieces of evidence. If the attack happened on red shag carpet, they’ll search for red fibers. If you were attacked in the woods, they’ll gather wood chips.
Wearing medical gloves, they don’t touch the evidence. They might gently nab a hair, a carpet fiber or a wood chip with a sticky square of tape that is then slid into an envelope.
Nothing wet can be packaged, because mold kills DNA.

Swabs of DNA go into a swab dryer, a device about as big as a bread box, plugged in and emitting a soothing, humming sound.

You will wear a gown that opens in the back. You will lie on your back on the bed. Stirrups are folded underneath, and are pulled out. If you’ve had a gynecological exam, this will be somewhat familiar. Nurses use a small plastic speculum and gather more DNA with swabs and take photos of injuries. A blue dye can be applied to your skin. That dye binds to lacerations and highlights small cuts.
A doctor may come in to do a head-to-toe assessment.

Only a doctor can prescribe antibiotics that ward off STDs, or Plan B, the emergency contraception pill.

“We offer it, we don’t push it,” Hillan-Bearsch said of Plan B, which some Bloomington Hospital doctors will not prescribe.

In the social worker’s office are extra scrubs and underwear.

You’ll be given clean towels and washcloths if you want to wash up in the adjacent, shared bathroom. You can also take a shower in another room.

After that, you can go home.

Evidence collection vs. law enforcement

Berwick wants to do away with Room 19 and secure a quieter, more homey room with a private bathroom away from the emergency department.

Hillan-Bearsch and Haskett work overnight, so their experiences are quite different from Berwick’s. Often victims that come in have been drinking.

Victims unconscious for a period of time during a possible attack want the nurses to tell them if they were raped.

“We can’t do that,” Haskett said. Before the SANE training, Haskett thought this was part of her job, to determine whether or not a rape had occurred. Her philosophy has changed.

“I’m just here to collect evidence. That’s law enforcement’s job, to prove a crime occurred.”

Hillan-Bearsch said 90 percent of the time, there are no visible injuries.

“Most of the time there is no injury and there is no way to tell,” she said.

But nurses won’t just collect evidence. You will hear them say, “I’m sorry this happened.”

The SANE nurses are not trained to handle pediatric cases, but the training exists. Victims 14 and under would be best treated at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, especially if “it’s an acute assault.”

But, “we have done those exams,” Haskett said.

Men come in, too. Haskett has done both victim and suspect exams on men. Men also feel more comfortable with female nurses doing their exam, the nurses say.

All evidence is put into a kit, and once that kit is complete, the nurses can’t let it out of their sight until law enforcement picks it up. Officers store kits for one year in refrigeration if the case is anonymous. Under a new state law, victims can remain anonymous for up to a year and still press charges against their attacker or attackers within that time.

If the case is not anonymous, the kit and all its evidence are sent to a state crime lab in Indianapolis.

A kit is not opened unless a prosecutor and others involved in the case all agree it can be opened.

________________________________________

One woman’s story

Hear one woman’s personal story of rape Wednesday when Tory Bowen, a victim advocate, speaks on the Indiana University campus. Bowen’s talk starts at 2:30 p.m. in Room 251 of the Radio and TV Center, 1229 E. Seventh St.

Bowen will share her experiences from 2006, in which the judge presiding over her sexual assault case barred the use of the words “rape,” “sexual assault,” “attack,” and so on from the courtroom. Her case, State of Nebraska v. Pamir Safi, drew national attention.
Safi was accused of sexually assaulting Bowen, then a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, in October 2004.

Bowen’s visit to IU is sponsored by the university’s Department of Criminal Justice, Office of Women’s Affairs and Department of History and Philosophy of Science. Learn more about Bowen at torybowen.com.
About the training

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training takes three months of weekly five-hour sessions. The Bloomington Hospital RNs did their training at the Center of Hope in Indianapolis. The training includes many clinical hours, a ride-along with police and a trip to county courtrooms. The nurses fit it in around their full-time jobs. There’s homework, quizzes and a test they must pass at the end of the training.

The cost is $5,000 per nurse, with $3,000 paid by Bloomington Hospital, and the remaining $2,000 covered by grant funds from the Bloomington Hospital Foundation, the mayor’s office, the county general fund and the county council’s social service fund.

Monroe Hospital has two SANE nurses, said Tina Durnil, director of patient care services. Durnil is one of them, and got her training years ago. She expects more of the hospital’s 18 emergency room nurses to complete the training in the near future.

“We definitely have some of our nurses who are interested, “ Durnil said.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Free Protocol Training – September 22, 2009

SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE TEAM (SART) FREE PROTOCOL TRAINING

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Council Chambers
City Hall, Showers Building,
Bloomington, Indiana
Four (4) Law Enforcement Training Credit (Sign in sheet at lunch break)
Parking available at the Garage Market (Regester Garage),across the street from the Justice Building.

View the SART Protocol at: www.co.monroe.in.us/prosecutor

Schedule

8:00 to 8:30 – Registration, coffee and breakfast snacks

8:30 to 9:00 – Overview of the SART Protocol
Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney

9:00 to 9:30 – The Role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
April Haskett, SANE Nurse, Bloomington Hospital

9:30 to 10:00 – The Role of the Victim’s Advocate
Leila Voyles Wood, Crisis Intervention Services Coordinator, Middle Way House

10:00 to 10:45 – Understanding the “Rape Kit.”
Bobb Dilley, Forensic Scientist, Indiana State Police Laboratory

15 minute break

11:00 to 11:45 – “Implementing the SART Protocol”
Law Enforcement Panel Discussion
Brad Swain – Monroe County Sheriff Department
Rick Crussen – Bloomington Police Department
Leslie Slone – Indiana University Police Department
Kevin Hobson – Indiana State Police

15 minute break (Lunch provided by Middle Way Food Works)

12:00 to 12:30 – Prosecuting Sex Crimes
Robert Miller, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

To register please RSVP to:
Linda Bough, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
349-7356, lbough@co.monroe.in.us

Sexual Assault Prevention Training Draws Crowd Today – September 22, 2009

Sexual assault prevention training draws crowd today
H-T Report
September 22, 2009

There were 140 attendees at today’s Sexual Assault Response Team training, hosted by Monroe County prosecutor Chris Gaal.

Held at City Hall, the four-hour training course brought together law enforcement, health officials and a victim advocate from Middle Way House to discuss the new team’s protocol.

Gaal and leaders from Indiana University, Bloomington Hospital and other groups gathered in late August to announce the formation of the team, which intends to prevent sexual assault, and to treat victims when an assault does occur.

Tuesday’s session, not meant for the general public, included overviews of the response team protocol and its implementation, a session on understanding a rape kit, and descriptions of the role of the victim’s advocate and a nurse designated as a SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, nurse.

Caring Nurses Preserve Dignity as well as Evidence – September 23, 2009

Our opinion
Caring nurses preserve dignity as well as evidence
Herald-Times
September 23, 2009

Gathering evidence from victims of sexual assault requires both forensic skill and compassionate care.
Traumatized, vulnerable and often wary of physical contact, these patients need gentle but efficient examinations by professionals trained to console victims and collect important scientific evidence that may lead to a successful prosecution.

A recent grant of $27,000 from the Bloomington Hospital Foundation has funded special “SANE” — Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners — training for Bloomington Hospital nurses, who are often among the first responders to sexual assault. As reporter Nicole Brooks’ Monday story revealed, these nurses play a key role in helping victims feel as comfortable as possible in a very uncomfortable situation.

Victims of sexual assault didn’t ask to be hurt. They didn’t ask for their bruises to be examined under the bright hospital lights. And they certainly didn’t ask for the teeth flossing, fingernail scraping, hair combing, blood drawing, bruise measuring, and fiber gathering that can be necessary to prove a crime has been committed.

The SANE-trained nurses work carefully to conduct these somewhat invasive procedures in a manner that preserves the victims’ already-damaged dignity while producing the best evidence possible.

With assistance from the SANE-trained nurses, more than 140 members of Monroe County’s newly formed Sexual Assault Response Team — including city police detectives, county sheriff’s office employees, Middle Way House staff, Indiana University Dean of Students office representatives and IU police — received their first training Tuesday. The team, which was assembled in compliance with a 2007 Indiana law, received a $161,833 federal grant funded with stimulus money through the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

Since taking office, prosecutor Chris Gaal has made domestic violence prosecution and prevention a top priority. But communitywide reduction in domestic violence also requires communitywide efforts.

We applaud the health professionals, law enforcement officers and victim advocates who are participating in the county’s Sexual Assault Response Team and working to make our community a safer place to live and work.

Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault Announces Outstanding Service Awards, Honors Local Individual for Exemplary Service – March 23, 2010

Contact: Erik M. Scheub
Director of Media/Public Relations
Phone: (317) 423-0233, ext 17
E-mail: escheub@incasa.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault Announces Outstanding Service Awards, honors local individual for exemplary service

March 23, 2010 Indianapolis, Indiana – There are times when someone in a local community goes above and beyond the call of duty. Each year, the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault (INCASA) recognizes professionals and volunteers across the state for their efforts to eradicate sexual assault; award recipients were honored last Friday, March 19th at the Indiana State Conference on Sexual Violence.

It’s our pleasure to announce that Chris Gaal, the Monroe County Prosecutor as the Outstanding Legal/Court Professional of the year. Leila Voyles-Wood of Middle Way House nominated Mr. Gaal. Mr. Gaal has a long history of public service in Monroe County. Mr. Gaal served on the Bloomington City Council for five years, and has served as the Monroe County Prosecutor since 2007. Mr. Gaal improved survivor services by hiring a team of victim assistants’ that have experience working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and created a sex crimes prosecutor position in his office.

“It’s great to honor such a worthy candidate with this award,” said Anita Carpenter, CEO of INCASA. “The dedicated work done by Mr. Gaal shows his commitment to eradicating sexual assault in Monroe County,” added Carpenter.

The two-day conference was held at the Wyndham Hotel and Conference Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Topics included Sexual Assault in the Military, HIV and Sexual Assault, Investigation on the College Campus, Internet Safety and Stalking, prison rape, and much more.

For more information regarding the conference, or award winners, please contact Erik with INCASA at (317) 423-0233, ext 17, or by email at escheub@incasa.org.

55 Monument Circle, Ste. 1224 . Indianapolis, IN 46204 . Phone (317) 423-0233 . Fax (317) 423-0237 . www.incasa.org

Funding for Sex Crimes Deputy Ends, Prosecutor and Judges Reorganize to Continue Focus – January 9, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE

Funding for Sex Crimes Deputy Ends, Prosecutor and Judges Reorganize to Continue Focus

January 9, 2012
Contact: Chris Gaal (812) 349-2670
cgaal@co.monroe.in.us

Bloomington, Indiana – Thanks to a federal stimulus grant, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office was able to establish a Sex Crimes Deputy prosecutor position in September of 2009. Now that the grant has come to an end, funding for the specialized position has disappeared.

“It was a tremendous benefit for us to invest in training one person to develop expertise in this area,” said Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal. “It allowed us to spend more time with victims, and give challenging felony sexual assault and child molesting cases the special attention they deserve.”

During that time the Prosecutor’s Office also advanced related public education and prevention efforts such as the “Blame it on the Alcohol?” and “Got Consent?” initiatives, and helped develop new community resources– including the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, and the Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center. Losing the Sex Crimes Deputy position at a time when these new resources have just recently come online poses a difficult challenge.

“These valuable community programs will require ongoing leadership, training, and coordination from the prosecutor’s office,” said Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal. “And we must find a way to make it happen to ensure their continued success.”

Thankfully, Gaal has been able to work out an arrangement with the Board of Judges that will enable the Prosecutor’s Office to maintain its focus in the area of sex crimes cases – despite the loss of funding.

The Judges have agreed to transfer sex crimes cases to Circuit Court II, overseen by Judge Marc Kellams. Rebecca Veidlinger, who has served as sex crimes deputy prosecutor for the last two years, will now be assigned as felony deputy in that court. This arrangement will allow her to continue to specialize in sex crimes cases. Veidlinger will now also handle general felony cases in Court II along with those cases.

Judge Kellams already takes all of the domestic violence cases, which are transferred to Court II and handled by a domestic violence deputy prosecutor from Gaal’s office.

“Sex offense cases require someone trained in the delicate area of dealing with traumatized victims and a good understanding of the laws and evidentiary rules particular to such offenses,” said Presiding Judge Kenneth Todd on behalf of the Board of Judges. “We believe that the assignment of such cases to one division of the court will expedite resolution and will enhance the likelihood of a fair and just result for all concerned.”

County Commissioner Iris Kiesling also welcomes the change as an example of local government offices working together to continue important services despite diminished resources. “The Commissioners appreciate that Judge Kellams is willing to take on additional responsibilities so that we can continue the special focus and gains that have been made in this community over the last two years,” she said.

Federal Grant Funds Sex Crimes Assistant for Prosecutor’s Office – July 26, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
July 26, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670

FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS SEX CRIMES ASSISTANT FOR PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE

Bloomington, IN – The Office of Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal received a federal grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to fund a part-time assistant to work on sex crimes cases.

“This will help us to maintain our focus on sexual assault cases despite dwindling resources and increased demands,” says Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal. “We’ve invested significant training and resources in developing special expertise in this area,” said Gaal. “Unfortunately, due to funding issues that resource is now spread thin.”

In 2009, the Prosecutor’s Office was able to establish the position of a Sex Crimes Deputy through a federal stimulus grant. Funding ran out and the position was eliminated in January of 2012.

In response to the loss of the specialized position, the Monroe County Board of Judges arranged to transfer sex crime cases to Circuit Court II, overseen by Judge Marc Kellams. Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Veidlinger, who previously served as the Sex Crimes Deputy, was re-assigned to Court II in order to continue handling sex crimes cases. However, in addition she must now also handle the general felony caseload in that court.

The grant funds a part-time assistant for Veidlinger, enabling her to continue to focus special attention on prosecuting challenging sex crimes cases. “In addition to working with victims and witnesses in pending cases,” said Veidlinger, “There are also important community resources that require our continued participation and coordination such as the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, the Child Advocacy Center, the I.U. Sexual Assault Service Providers Network, and public education and prevention efforts.”

The assistant position will be filled by Caren Stoll, who previously worked as a supervisor at the Department of Child Services, as a project manager at Ivy Tech Community College, and as a counselor at Bloomington Meadows Hospital. She also served as the Youth Services Area Manager and coordinated “Project Breakaway” for Bloomington Parks and Recreation. Prior to that, she worked as an Assistant Superintendent for the Bloomington Juvenile Treatment Facility, through the Indiana Department of Corrections. She has also worked with Options for Better Living Inc., Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Monroe County, and as an Abuse Registry Counselor with the Florida State Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.

“I know that sex crimes cases often require extra time and attention,” said Stoll. “I hope to ensure that these challenging cases get the focus they deserve.”

Prosecutor’s Office Sponsors Training on “Human Trafficking” – October 11, 2013

October 11, 2013

Contact: Chris Gaal

(812) 349-2670
www.monroeprosecutor.us

Prosecutor’s Office Sponsors Training on “Human Trafficking”

According to Abigail Kuzma, Chief Counsel of the Consumer Protection at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, “Human Trafficking” is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry worldwide. While this crime industry grows, many remain unaware of the problem and consequently unable to help the young people that are being victimized.

Jennifer Thuma, Chair of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH), adds “We know from our work of several years on the taskforce that this is happening across the country in much higher numbers than people typically realize or know, and that usually the victims are U.S. citizens, with 12-14 being the average age for being forced into prostitution.”

On October 10, 2013, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office sponsored a local training on “Human Trafficking” at the City of Bloomington’s Public Safety Training Center. The training was held in collaboration with the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force (IPATH), a project of the Indiana Attorney General, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. The event in Bloomington was the first such training to take place outside of Marion County.

The training was attended by 54 participants representing various sectors of the local community; including law enforcement, health care, educators, youth services providers, and victim advocates.

Members of IPATH, the Attorney General’s state task force on human trafficking who provided the training were:

Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Director and Chief Counsel, Consumer Protection Division, Senior Policy Advisor

Jennifer Thuma, IPATH Task Force, Chair, Transportation Committee

Jon Daggy, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Sergeant, Vice Unit/Criminal Investigations/ Human Trafficking

Mary Hutchinson, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Deputy Prosecutor, Human Trafficking Investigations and Prosecutions

“We appreciate members of the Attorney General’s task force working with us to provide this training for our community here in Bloomington,” said Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal.

Prosecutor’s Office Receives Grant for Sex Crimes Deputy – July 12, 2016

For Immediate Release
July 12, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
(812) 349-2670

PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE RECEIVES GRANT FOR SEX CRIMES DEPUTY

Bloomington, IN — “A major milestone.” That’s how prosecutor Chris Gaal describes the award of a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to fund a new deputy prosecutor position in his office to specialize in handling sex crimes cases.

For years Gaal argued the case. Annually at budget time, Gaal would ritually end his presentation to the County Council with a reminder of the need for a deputy to specialize in handling difficult sexual assault and child sex abuse cases should the resources become available.

“This is a county with a major university,” Gaal would repeat. “Sexual assault is a constant issue of public concern. We need to ensure that these cases get the full care and attention that they deserve.”

Finally, the funding has come through. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute approved Gaal’s most recent grant proposal for a sex crimes deputy dedicated exclusively to specialize in that caseload.

“Because sex crimes cases require a high degree of specialized knowledge, training, and experience,” says Gaal, “It is best to designate and invest in a specialist dedicated exclusively to handling those cases.”

Currently Gaal’s office has a deputy assigned to sex crimes cases, but who must also carry a caseload of other unrelated felony cases. Because sex crimes cases tend to be more time-consuming, require greater preparation work, and more often go to trial, the better practice is to have a deputy devoted solely to sex crimes cases.

The Prosecutor’s Office led the creation of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs in 2009, and then helped develop Susie’s Place child advocacy center in 2010. The prosecutor’s office has also produced several prevention campaigns targeting students on campus on the message of “consent” including the “Let’s Talk About Sex” video which received over 15,000 hits on You Tube.

“Although we have continued to participate in building those community resources and promoting valuable initiatives aimed at preventing sexual assault, it has been difficult to maintain our leadership for those efforts with such limited resources,” said Gaal.

Gaal believes a dedicated sex crimes deputy with an exclusive focus could help re-kindle those campus and community organizing efforts.

“This has been a missing piece of the puzzle for many years,” agreed Emily Perry, Executive Director of Susie’s Place. “We look forward to working with a specialized deputy prosecutor who can devote their full attention to these cases, and participate regularly in our multi-disciplinary team.”

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New Child Abuse Pediatric Medical Exam Program Starts In Bloomington – May 9, 2017

For Immediate Release
May 9, 2017
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
(812) 349-2670

New Child Abuse Pediatric Medical Exam Program Starts In Bloomington

Pediatric SANE

Bloomington, IN — Go to Indianapolis. That was where a child was referred when a sexual abuse investigation called for a pediatric forensic medical exam. Then in many cases the medical exam didn’t happen – either due to scarce resources, or because of the transportation hardship imposed on low-income families. Not only did that response fail the child, but it also left the abuse investigation incomplete.

Now thanks to a collaboration between Riley Physicians for Children IU Health and Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center, local victims of child abuse will be able to receive a free forensic exam from a specially trained medical professional in Bloomington.

“We have been working together to make this happen in Bloomington for a long time,” said Emily Perry, Executive Director of Susie’s Place, “because we strongly believe that every child who needs a forensic medical exam should be able to get one regardless of their circumstances.”

In 2008, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program was created to provide forensic medical exams for adult victims of sexual assault at I.U. Health Bloomington Hospital. Then in 2011, Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center opened its doors in Bloomington to provide forensic interviews for child victims of suspected abuse. Since then the need for a pediatric version of the SANE program (or P-SANE) has been regarded as a high priority next step. After years working toward achieving that goal, such a program is now up and running.

The new pediatric forensic medical exam program will collect and document evidence following suspected child sexual abuse, and provide appropriate follow-up health care and counseling referrals.

“Even if it doesn’t reveal any additional evidence of abuse,” said Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal, “a pediatric forensic medical exam is necessary to show that a complete and thorough investigation was conducted.”

Dr. Richard Malone of Riley Physicians will act as Medical Director for the new program, and will personally conduct regular exams at Susie’s Place in Bloomington.

“Providing a prompt pediatric forensic medical exam should be the standard of care in these cases,” said Dr. Malone, “not only to document possible abuse but also to reassure both the child and their families when there are normal physical findings.”

Danielle Benedek, a Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in the care of pediatric victims of sexual assault, will also conduct exams of alleged child victims at Susie’s Place. She has already volunteered countless hours of service and expertise to help get the new program off the ground.

“This is certainly worth celebrating,” said Benedek. “It represents a major step forward to better protect children in our community.”

Dr. Malone plans to work closely with Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, which will provide additional resources and case review to support the local effort in Bloomington.

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Campus Awareness

Prosecutor’s Office Steps Up Prevention Efforts For Sexual Assault Awareness Month – March 23, 2010

PRESS RELEASE
March 23, 2010

For more information contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, (812) 349-2670

Prosecutor’s Office Steps Up Prevention Efforts For Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Bloomington, Indiana – These aren’t your usual sexual assault prevention tips:

“When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!”

“If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, don’t assault them!”

“Don’t forget, you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake.”

“Remember, if someone goes to sleep after a night of partying, let them be! Do not assault them.”

These attention-getting slogans are currently being displayed on table tents in dorm cafeterias and in other areas around the Indiana University campus. They put a new twist on the usual prevention message by not just urging caution for potential student victims, but also targeting potential perpetrators. In addition, they help publicize a series of educational events sponsored by the Office of Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal entitled “Blame It On The Alcohol? The Truths, Myths and Laws of Sexual Assault.”

The educational programs were developed in collaboration with IU School of Social Work students, peer-educators Raising Awareness in Sexual Encounters (RAISE), IU Women’s Student Association, IU Panhellenic Association, Safe Sisters, and IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service.

Drawing on a contemporary pop song for their title, the presentations will explore common misconceptions and realities about sexual assault using illustrations from the media as a springboard for discussion. An interactive performance by RAISE will be followed by a legal discussion led by sex crimes deputy prosecutor Rebecca Veidlinger.

Information from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that as many as one in five women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Other data indicates that as many as 43% of college-aged men admit to using coercive behavior to obtain sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.

“Clearly there is a problem on college campuses around the country, and we need to work together and do more to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault,” says Debbie Melloan, a counselor with the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service.

“We strongly support these education initiatives,” agrees IUPD interim chief Jerry Minger. “Prevention has to be part of the strategy.”

Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal organized a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and developed a new protocol to better coordinate the community’s response to sexual assaults. The SART includes representatives from law enforcement, victim’s advocates, health care providers, and from the university.

Central to the SART is a new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Bloomington Hospital that provides forensic medical exams by specially trained nurses for sexual assault victims. Since the program was publicly announced in September of 2009, the number of sexual assault exams performed at Bloomington Hospital has doubled.

“We want students to understand what consent to sex means,” says Gaal. “What consent is, and what it is not, and that sex without consent is a crime.”

To that end Gaal created a public education campaign with a poster showing a falling line of dominos and emphasizing the message “Got Consent? Ask” and “Only Yes Means Yes.” During April the poster will be placed inside the entire fleet of IU buses, and a similar public service announcement featuring student voices will air on both radio and television.

The “Got Consent?” image will also be distributed on wallet-sized cards listing emergency contact information that explains how victims of sexual assault can get help. The cards instruct victims to call 911 if they are in danger or to report a crime. It also lists telephone numbers for the Indiana University Sexual Assault Crisis Service and Middle Way House hotlines. The card further explains how to obtain a sexual assault exam from a nurse at the Bloomington Hospital Emergency Department.

The “Blame It On The Alcohol” program will take place at various campus locations, and on Thursday, March 25 at the Monroe County Library at 5:30 pm. For more information contact the Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney at www.co.monroe.in.us/prosecutor or call (812) 349-2670.

Collaborations Are Key to Preventing Sexual Assault – April 21, 2010

Collaborations Are Key to Preventing Sexual Assault
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, IN — With parties and end-of-year celebrations picking up, students and staff at Indiana University are engaging in multiple efforts to reduce the risk of sexual assault, including peer education, public outreach and an increased emphasis on intervening when friends put themselves at risk.

“Sexual assault is a serious problem across America’s colleges and universities, and Indiana University is no exception,” said Dean of Students Harold “Pete” Goldsmith. “The excellent work being done by RAISE, Safe Sisters, the Sexual Assault Crisis Service and other campus organizations is making a difference in raising awareness and supporting victims. Together we are sending a clear message that everyone has a role to play in eliminating sexual assaults on college campuses.”

This month, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, marked the first meeting of a new organization of fraternity members aimed at reducing the risk of sexual assault. It also brought campus recognition for a three-year-old assault prevention program involving sorority members and a new education program that explores myths and misconceptions about sexual assault.

Recent initiatives include collaboration in creation of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), spearheaded by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal and launched in August 2009. The initiative includes the establishment of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Bloomington Hospital. IU Bloomington, through a grant from the Parents Fund administered by the Office of the Dean of Students, will help fund the training of nurses and nurse practitioners to participate in the SANE program.

Last month, Gaal’s office sponsored an education series titled “Blame It On The Alcohol? The Truths, Myths and Laws of Sexual Assault.” The series included an interactive presentation by students exploring misconceptions about sexual assault and the ways that alcohol and drug use can inhibit clear communication, along with a legal discussion by sex crimes prosecutor Rebecca Veidlinger. The project also distributed 3,000 “got consent?” wallet cards with contact information for sexual assault services, paid for posters with the message that “only yes means yes” installed in IU buses, and produced public service audio and video announcements. The video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blJbXZ6_2ro.

“Blame It On The Alcohol” was developed in collaboration with the student group Raising Awareness of Interactions in Sexual Encounters (RAISE), the IU School of Social Work, the Women’s Student Association, the IU Panhellenic Association, Safe Sisters and the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service at the IU Health Center. The program, presented in campus residence halls, sororities and fraternities, won the 2010 Leadership in Personal Safety Award presented by the IU Bloomington Commission on Personal Safety and the Office for Women’s Affairs.

The new fraternity organization, called Fraternities Reducing Assault Together, seeks to build on informal risk-management programs and practices at IU fraternity houses. Representatives from each fraternity will take part in training to learn to identify and intervene in situations that could lead to sexual assault at parties and other house activities.

It joins Safe Sisters, established in 2007, in which members from each IU sorority are designated and trained to share information about sexual assault and to provide intervention, help and support for victims. They meet monthly to discuss issues and learn from each other. Safe Sisters, a joint program of Sexual Assault Crisis Services and the IU Bloomington Panhellenic Association, this month received the 2010 Campus Program Award from the Dean of Students office.

Past efforts to prevent sexual assault focused largely on individual behavior, trying to make sure students understood the meaning of consent, the importance of clear communication in sexual encounters, and the actions they can take to reduce their personal risk. These efforts have been effective in conveying that the campus takes these situations seriously. Now, campus officials say, there is an increased emphasis on encouraging students to intervene in potentially risky situations. Students in Safe Sisters and Fraternities Reducing Assault Together, for example, learn effective ways to step in when they witness a situation that could lead to sexual assault — for example, a man being overly sexually aggressive or a woman appearing uncomfortable about her date’s advances.

Campus offices are also making an effort to acknowledge the reality of sexual assault in same-sex relationships and to provide support and encouragement for its victims, who may be hesitant to report.

IU’s Sexual Assault Crisis Service, part of Counseling and Psychological Services and located at the IU Health Center, provides crisis intervention, counseling and educational programming related to sexual assault. There is no charge for the services, which include advocacy and assistance with medical and legal referrals. For more information, call 812-855-5711 or see http://healthcenter.indiana.edu/departments/sacsmain.html.

Copyright © 2010 The Trustees of Indiana University | Copyright Complaints

Campus-Community Partner for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April – March 31, 2011

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, (812) 349-2670

Campus-Community Partner for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April

Bloomington, Indiana – “Let’s talk about sex…” opens a public service announcement produced by the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office. The “Got Consent?” message features university students describing what consent to sex is and is not. It is all part of an effort to actively engage students on campus in sexual assault prevention efforts.

The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office has teamed up with groups at Indiana University during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. This campus-community collaboration will build on the successful “Blame It On The Alcohol?” program, which won the Phyllis R. Klotman “Leadership in Personal Safety Award” from the IU Commission of Personal Safety in 2010.

“Blame It On the Alcohol?” directly involves students in a discussion about the truths, myths, and laws of sexual assault. Ten sessions are currently scheduled across the Indiana University Bloomington campus during the first week of April – with five sessions open to the general public. Participants will examine common myths about sexual assault, discuss strategies for prevention such as “bystander intervention,” and learn about new resources for victims.

The program starts with student actors role-playing a familiar scene at a party involving alcohol. Monroe County sex crimes deputy prosecutor Rebecca Veidlinger will then guide a discussion examining the law of sexual assault. “These can be challenging cases,” says Veidlinger. “Because the reality of sexual assault often differs from the stereotype.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as one-in-five women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Other studies show that as many as 43% of college-aged men admit to using coercive behavior to obtain sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.

Debbie Melloan, a counselor with Indiana University Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) welcomes the town-gown partnership, “We hope to reach even more students this year with programs at residence halls, fraternities and sororities, and the International Center.”

As part of April’s prevention efforts local radio and television will also air the “Got Consent?” public service announcements. The prevention ad campaign was originally developed in 2009 when prosecuting attorney Chris Gaal announced the creation of the Monroe County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE) at Bloomington Hospital.

“We created the ‘Blame it on the Alcohol?’ program and the ‘Got Consent?’ campaign because we wanted to directly engage students in a discussion about what consent to sex really means,” said Gaal. Students are encouraged to help deliver that message virally by linking to the video clip on YouTube, Facebook, and email at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blJbXZ6_2ro

Other partners working to deliver “Blame it on the Alcohol?” in April include the IU School of Social Work, peer-educators Raising Awareness in Sexual Encounters (RAISE), IU Women’s Student Association, Office of Women’s Affairs, IU Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council), IU Residential Programs and Services, IU Department of Student Ethics, IU Alcohol Alternative Intervention Program, Middle Way House, and the IU Police Department.

Dates open to the public for “Blame it on the Alcohol?” are:
Sunday, April 3, 6:00pm at Teter Quad, 8:00pm at McNutt Quad
Tuesday, April 5, 6:00pm at Forest, 8:00pm at Collins Living and Learning Center
Friday, April 8, 2:00pm at IU International Center

How To Be Smart About Having A Good Time – A Welcome Week Event For Students – August 23, 2013

SDRR2013_flyer

“CONSENT IS HOT!” Coffee Sleeves Hit Bloomington Shops – April 16,2015

For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2015
Contact:
Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
(812) 349-2670

“CONSENT IS HOT!” COFFEE SLEEVES HIT BLOOMINGTON SHOPS

ConsentIsHot

Your morning coffee may not be the only thing that is hot this month. Over twenty local coffee shops will be distributing cardboard coffee sleeves bearing the message, “Consent is Hot! Got Consent? Ask.”

Campus and community partners have geared up to get the message out during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. The creative social marketing campaign is co-sponsored by the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office, the IU Dean of Students Office, IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service, the Monroe County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), IU Culture of Care, and It’s On Us – Indiana University.

Campus coffee shops at both Indiana University and IVY Tech, and java sellers throughout the local community will help to spread the word as they provide hot coffee to go for their customers.
“We are thrilled to be part of this effort,” said Robert Himmel, Owner of City Bakery on East Third Street. “I hope it starts some early morning discussions about what consent means.”

The message echoes an earlier video about consent produced by the Prosecutor’s Office called “Let’s Talk About Sex” that has received over 13,000 views on You Tube. Now coffee drinkers all over Bloomington will be reminded that “Only Yes Means Yes,” and “Silence, Passed Out, Intoxicated, Fear – Is Not Consent.”

It looks like coffee and heightened awareness go hand in hand. The Prosecutor’s Office will also conduct live presentations at various locations around campus, entitled “Blame It On The Alcohol? The Truths, Myths, and Laws of Sexual Assault.”

“This is a creative way to get the message out about an important issue in a college town,” said Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal. “We received an enthusiastic response from local businesses eager to participate.”

“The message of asking for consent is definitely the right one,” agrees Debbie Melloan of the IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service. “It’s a message that’s always relevant.”
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“CONSENT IS COOL!” – August 20,2015

For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2015
Contact:
Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
(812) 349-2670

“CONSENT IS COOL!”

ConsentIsHot

The Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney will distribute one thousand “Consent is Cool” water bottles at the Indiana University Welcome Week student orientation safety event “Sex, Drugs & Rock-N-Roll” this Friday as part of ongoing sexual assault prevention and education efforts on campus. The bottle reads, “Got Consent? Ask.” The label also includes the message: “Silence, Passed Out, Intoxicated, Fear – Is Not Consent. Only Yes Means Yes.” The “Consent is Cool” water bottle campaign is cosponsored by the IU Division of Student Affairs, IU Sexual Assault Crisis Service, Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) – Monroe County, It’s On US – Indiana University, and IU Culture of Care.

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LOCAL COMEDIANS PERFORM SKETCH ON CONSENT FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
– April 12,2016

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, (812) 349-2670

LOCAL COMEDIANS PERFORM SKETCH ON CONSENT
FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

Sketch

YouTube: https://youtu.be/RiLMJd3mARo

Bloomington, Indiana – A guy walks into a bar . . . and delivers a powerful message against sexual assault. In this case, the guy is local comedian Jonas Schrodt, accompanied by fellow conspirator Stephanie Lochbihler. Both are regular performers at the Comedy Attic, a stand-up comedy club in Bloomington, Indiana.

The idea to use a comedy sketch to promote a message about “consent” for Sexual Assault Awareness Month resulted from a unique partnership between the Comedy Attic and the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office.

“We were looking for a fresh way to communicate that would appeal to college students,” said Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal. In previous years, the office has promoted several successful sexual assault prevention campaigns – including “Got Consent?” “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Consent is Hot!” (www.monroeprosecutor.us) The Prosecutor’s Office proposed the new collaboration to Comedy Attic owner Jared Thompson, who began to develop the idea into a short video.

“This was a real creative challenge,” said Thompson. “We had to present a serious topic in a respectful way while telling an entertaining story.”

The ninety second video shows “Good Jonas”, played by Schrodt, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new girlfriend while maintaining a dialogue with his evil twin. In the next booth, “Bad Jonas” is stockpiling a ready supply of alcohol and drugs clearly intended to be used for obtaining sex. “Good Jonas” finally advises “Man you don’t need all this. . . I just treat her like a human being – with respect – and I think that’s working. Actually I think tonight’s the night.”

After “Good Jonas” walks off with the girl, “Bad Jonas” exclaims “What am I doing?” He realizes the ridiculousness of his behavior and throws the supplies into a nearby garbage can.

The actors soon reappear to provide some sobering statistics.

“One in five women will be sexually assaulted during their college career,” says a girl from the bar.

“Alcohol is the number one drug used by perpetrators in drug-facilitated sexual assault,” adds Schrodt.

The video is co-sponsored by several organizations at Indiana University –
including the Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS), Safe Sisters, and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault.

“We think it is important to keep talking about consent,” says Ann Skirvin, a counselor with SACS. “Putting that message into a comedy sketch spreads the message more widely to people who might otherwise have tuned it out.”

The video will be promoted through social media and is available on You Tube at: https://youtu.be/RiLMJd3mARo

#OnlyYesMeansYes

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