ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is launching a sex assault investigation work group.
“Sexual assault is a horrendous crime, and the survivors deserve justice and compassion,” says Swanson. “The goal is for this work group to develop legislative and policy recommendations before the start of the next legislative session for improvements to the criminal justice system’s response to these crimes. I thank the members of the work group for their willingness to serve.”
The Work Group consists of:
- Barb Johnson, Chair. Ms. Johnson served as President of the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years, beginning in 2006, and previously worked as a registered nurse.
- Dr. Mark Hudson is the Medical Director at the Midwest Children’s Resource Center, a child advocacy center and clinic in St. Paul. Dr. Hudson has been an expert witness in abuse cases.
- Lisa Lovering is the Chief Deputy at the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Lovering is an experienced sex crime investigator. She has been a deputy sheriff since 1994, and held the positions of investigator and patrol sergeant before becoming chief deputy in 2015.
- Nicole Matthews is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Woman’s Sexual Assault Coalition, a victim advocacy agency representing native American women throughout Minnesota.
- Dr. Carolyn Porta is a professor and Director of Global Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Dr. Porta is also a practicing sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE nurse).
- Teri Walker McLaughlin is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a victim advocacy agency in St. Paul dedicated to preventing sexual violence and providing resources and support to victims and criminal justice agencies.
- Elizabeth Richards is the Executive Director for the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, a victim advocacy agency in St. Paul committed to social justice.
- Paul Schnell is the Inver Grove Heights Police Chief. Chief Schnell has over 25 years of policing experience, including providing training on investigating crimes of violence against women. Chief Schnell previously served as Chief of Police for Maplewood and Hastings.
- Nichole Sipes is a Sergeant with the St. Paul Police Department. Sgt. Sipes has been a police officer for over 10 years and is a veteran sex crimes investigator.
- Paul Young is the Criminal Division Chief at the Anoka County Attorney’s Office. Mr. Young has been a career prosecutor for 25 years.
He served Anoka County as Violent Crime Chief from 2006 to 2015 before becoming Criminal Division Chief.
Swanson says Minnesota does not have mandated training or uniform policies for the investigation of sexual assault cases, unlike some states, even though they are some of the most difficult and complicated cases our law enforcement agencies face. She says the Work Group may explore best practices, more modern and innovative training programs, and better allocation of resources.