Governor Janet Mills today announced appointments to the Standing Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma. The Council, created by an executive order signed by the Governor, will work to ensure that survivors of harassment or assault in the military are connected to all available resources and to improve Maine National Guard responses to attacks and harassment within its ranks.
“I am grateful for the service of these Council members and believe that their combined experience and knowledge can pave the way for us to better prevent and respond to sexual assault and harassment within the Guard,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I look forward to their report in December, which will help us redouble our efforts to take immediate and responsive action on reported allegations, bring justice and support to survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable.”
The members appointed by Governor Mills to the Military Sexual Trauma Advisory Council are:
- Chair: Captain Dustin J. Martin, Provost Marshal, Maine National Guard
- Lucia Chomeau Hunt, Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse
- Michael Sauschuck, Commissioner, Maine Department of Public Safety
- Attorney General Aaron M. Frey
- District Attorney Maeghan Maloney, President, Maine Attorneys Association
- Dale Lancaster, president of the Maine Sheriffs Association
- Scott Stewart, nominated by the Maine Association of Chiefs of Police
- Elizabeth Ward Saxl, Executive Director, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Rebecca Cornell du Houx, Executive Director, Sisters in Arms Center
- Mary Rose Callain, MST Coordinator, VA Maine
The Advisory Council is tasked with making recommendations to the Governor by December 1, 2022 on how the Maine National Guard can improve its response to sexual assault and sexual harassment within its ranks, with particular emphasis on the coordination of national and local law enforcement and prosecutors. Protect staff when responding to individual cases.
The Advisory Council is the next step in the Mills Administrations’ efforts to support members of the Guard who have experienced sexual harassment or assault.
To better support survivors when interacting with law enforcement or the justice system, in 2017 the Maine National Guard established and recently strengthened a Provost Marshal’s Office to serve as a centralized liaison and conduit to forces. law enforcement and criminal justice. community. The Provost Marshal also ensures that military victims of crime have support from the Maine National Guard as their case progresses. The Guard also recently hired its first-ever Victims Advocate Coordinator, which will allow the SAPR program to better recruit, train, and accredit other Victims Advocates, as well as provide additional 24/7 support. 7 to the victims.
Additionally, with federal funding now available, Maine and other states are laying the foundation for an integrated primary prevention program, as the National Guard seeks to enhance existing programs by bringing together holistic prevention efforts under one umbrella. umbrella. For Maine, this means an additional team of up to four people focused on increasing resilience and further reducing self-harm, substance abuse, any form of domestic or workplace violence and other issues affecting military populations and their families.
Last year, Governor Mills signed into law LD 625, which directed the Maine National Guard to evaluate what steps could be taken at the state level to strengthen or improve the Guard’s response to harassment and to sexual assault. In March, the Maine National Guard submitted this report to the Legislature, identifying five steps to strengthen its response to sexual assault and harassment, including the formation of the Advisory Council. The governor then signed into law LD 2029, which when taken with the Advisory Council and other actions taken by the Maine National Guard, will fulfill the five action items identified in the report to improve the response of the Guard to harassment and sexual assault.