2022 ICCR Rural Conference
Ben Ablon
SAFVIC Systems
Ben Ablon began his law enforcement career in 1985 with the Denton County Sheriff's Office. Chief Ablon currently serves as a part-time investigator with the Blanco County Attorney's Office. He holds a Master Peace Officer Certification, an Instructor Certification, Special Investigator Certification, and a Field Training Officer Certification. Chief Ablon has served in patrol, investigations, court security, hostage negotiator and spent over six years as a Police Chief. He has also served as an Assistant Scoutmaster, Explorer Advisor and Assistant District Commissioner.
Bree Adams Bill
Program Director
Praxis International
Bree Adams Bill is a Program Director at Praxis International where she builds on her considerable experience to assist to guide and promote the implementation of training and technical assistance across and within the Praxis programs: Advocacy Learning Center, Blueprint for Safety, Institutional Analysis and Rural. Ms. Adams Bill has over 20 years providing direct-service, institutional and social-change advocacy within the movement to end gender-based violence and serves on the Board of Directors Executive Committee for Violence Free Minnesota.
Jane Anderson
Attorney Advisor
Jane Anderson brings her expertise in prosecuting domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking to her role as an Attorney Advisor with AEquitas. Prior to joining AEquitas, Ms. Anderson served as a prosecutor in Miami, Florida where she tried many of the state's first human trafficking cases. In her role as a founding member of the Human Trafficking Unit, she developed policies to better identify and provide necessary services to trafficking victims, while ensuring offender accountability through the use of digital evidence and creative charging decisions. Ms. Anderson also served as a supervisor in the Domestic Violence Unit, where she trained new attorneys and oversaw the prosecution of domestic violence, stalking, and violations of protection orders. Throughout her career, Ms. Anderson prosecuted felony-level crimes of all types, including homicide, kidnapping, and sexual assault.
Misty Biddick
Executive Director
Aware Central Texas
Misty Biddick is currently the Executive Director of Aware Central Texas. Previously, Ms. Biddick served eight years in the U.S. Army and before then, was the Family Violence Specialized Caseload Officer for Bell/Lampasas Counties Community Supervision and Corrections Department. Ms. Biddick established the first family violence specialized caseload in Bell County and is considered an expert regarding the subjects of victimology, family violence offender interventions and intimate partner strangulation. She is an executive committee member of the Texas Victims’ Assistance Association, sits on the Office of the Texas Attorney Generals’ Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force and is the current Chair of the Central Texas Family Violence Task Force and the Central Texas Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Roundtable.
Kaiti Blackburn
Executive Director
Jana's Campaign
Kaiti Blackburn is the Executive Director of Jana’s Campaign, Inc. where she oversees all internal and external operations, as well as provides programming and training to thousands of students and community members. Ms. Blackburn leads Jana’s Campaign’s efforts to educate on the topics of healthy - and unhealthy – relationships, ultimately to prevent the violence before it starts. She has been deeply involved in the gender-based violence prevention community since 2015.
Krista Blakeney-Mitchell
Associate Director
US DOJ-Office on Violence Against Women
Krista Blakeney-Mitchell currently serves as an Associate Director for the Responses Program and the Rural Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Program, and the Children and Youth & Engaging Men Program at Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). She supports the OVW Director and has worked on the Grants Development and Program Management Division team for the past 20 years. For several years, she managed the development and administration of the Courts Training and Improvements Program (Courts Program) and launched the Mentor Court Initiative to support the development and enhancement of specialized courts addressing domestic violence. She was responsible for shaping, managing and administrating the Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) discretionary grant program. Ms. Blakeney-Mitchell has also served as a mentor under the DOJ Mentoring Program and spearheaded a new Judicial Engagement Network designed to elevate and connect judges who have demonstrated a commitment and innovation in their work to end violence against women.
0Jennifer Bushee
Training & Development Specialist
Texas Department of Public Safety
Jennifer Bushee is a training specialist within the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCRP) for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The objective of the UCRP is to produce reliable crime statistics for law enforcement administration, operation, and management, made available as a measure of the fluctuations in the type and volume of crime in Texas. Additionally, UCRP is designed to measure the total volume of serious crime known to police, and to show the activity and coverage of law enforcement agencies through arrest counts and police employee strength data.
Haleh Cochran
Systems Change Advocate
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
Haleh Cochran currently serves as the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault’s systems change advocate and has worked with survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence since 2008. Ms. Cochran began her career as an advocate at a rape crisis center and has since served in many roles, from sexual assault response team (SART) coordinator to deputy director and expert witness. As a systems change advocate, she specializes in providing training and technical assistance related to trauma-informed response, SARTs, and advocacy. Ms. Cochran also participates as a subject matter expert in the trauma- informed working group for the Statewide Sexual Assault Survivor’ s Taskforce in Texas.
Matthew DeSarno
Special Agent in Charge
Matthew DeSarno, former Infantry Officer of the First Calvary Division, has served in many capacities within the FBI as a special agent, conducting investigations leading criminal investigation divisions and field office tasks forces with heavy emphasis on gangs since 2002. Later his concentration landed on white collar, public corruption, and civil rights programs as well as violent crime, transnational organized crime, SWAT, evidence response, and crisis negotiation programs in the Chicago Field Office. In 2015, Mr. DeSarno entered the Senior Executive Service as the chief of the Strategic Operations Section in the Counterterrorism Division. In 2017, Mr. DeSarno was named the Deputy Assistant Director for operations in the Counterterrorism Division. In March 2018, Mr. DeSarno served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal/Cyber Division of the Washington Field Office, and in May 2019, he was selected to lead the Dallas Field Office.
Adam Dodge
Founder and Owner/Instructor
Adam Dodge, a licensed attorney in California, is the founder of EndTAB (Ending Tech-Enabled Abuse) and spends a great deal of his time delivering innovative technology-enabled abuse trainings and presentations to organizations, nonprofits and governments around the world. Mr. Dodge’s work is characterized by his dedication to addressing the existing and future threats posed by technology to victims of crime and gender-based violence. He has written and presented extensively on cyberstalking, technology-enabled abuse, non-consensual pornography and co-authored a domestic violence advisory on the emerging threat of ‘deepfakes.’ Mr. Dodge is also a special advisor to the Coalition Against Stalkerware and sits on the World Economic Forum's Digital Justice Advisory Committee. Dedicated to advancing impact legislation and public policy, he is also a member of the Policy Advisory Council for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
Nancy Downing
Associate Professor
Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing
Nancy Downing is an Associate Professor in the Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing at Texas A&M University. She teaches and conducts research related to forensic nursing and has been a forensic nurse since 2004. Her research focuses on intersections of trauma, abuse, substance use and associated health outcomes. She works as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, providing care to patients across the lifespan who experienced sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, child or elder maltreatment, human trafficking, or other forms of non-accidental trauma. She serves forensic nursing science and practice in her roles as Past-President of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, member of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and Vice Chair of the Forensic Nursing Subcommittee of the Organization for Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science.
Amanda Elkanick Oder
Vice President of Advocacy & Outreach
Texas Advocacy Project
Amanda Elkanick Oder is currently the Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach with Texas Advocacy Project, a non-profit law firm offering free legal services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Ms. Elkanick has been working with survivors for the past 10 years in varying roles; such as shelter advocate, program director and policy analyst. These varying positions have brought an invaluable perspective to her statewide work. She has served on statewide task forces’, community planning groups, and committees that are centered on ending intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
Julie Germann
Finding the Right, LLC
Julie Germann is the founder of Finding the Right, LLC, where she provides training and technical assistance to improve response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Ms. Germann is a former prosecutor with over a decade of experience prosecuting cases of violence against women and children. Ms. Germann has worked with sexual assault and child abuse multidisciplinary teams and trains nationally. She provides best practice reviews, and contributes to legislative advancements and policy manuals, such as the SART Toolkit published by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Ruth Guerreiro
Senior Director of Clinical and Non-Residential Services
Genesis Women's Shelter & Support
Ruth Guerreiro is the Senior Director of Clinical and Non-Residential Services at Genesis Women's Shelter & Support (GWSS) for 10 years advocating for and providing cutting-edge therapeutic services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Ms. Guerreiro supervises and trains clinicians across all locations to guarantee that GWSS is providing best-practice therapies for clients. Ms. Guerreiro seeks out, develops, oversees and integrates trauma-informed programs to ensure the organization and staff continue to be thought leaders in the movement to end domestic violence. She is EMDR certified, an EMDRIA Consultant, a LCSW licensing supervisor, and a CPT provider, in addition to providing expert testimony in court on behalf of survivors. Ms. Guerreiro has provided individual and group therapy to over 1,000 survivors.
Melissa Hightower
Program Specialist
SAFVIC Systems
Melissa Hightower has over 27 years in law enforcement, retiring from Williamson County Attorney's Office in 2018 as Chief Investigator. Ms. Hightower’s experience includes working with law enforcement, victims, prosecutors, and victim advocates throughout the life of a criminal case. She has reviewed, investigated and/or testified in thousands of cases from Class C offenses to Capital Murder. Ms. Hightower designed, taught, and coordinated the new Investigator curriculum at TDCAA Investigator school for 15 years. Throughout her career, she has taught for TDCAA, Tx DPS, CAPCOG RLEA, Border Prosecution Unit, TMPA, and NDAA on subjects such as Family Violence investigations, Protective Orders, Digital Evidence, Juvenile Investigations, Victims' Rights, Report Writing, and Courtroom Testimony. Ms. Hightower is a Master Peace Officer and a TCOLE Instructor. In 2019, she created and debuted a training class for CAPCOG exploring the areas of Family Violence & Mental and Adverse Childhood experiences.
Beth Jacobs
Council Member
Just Exits Initiative Council
Beth Jacobs is a survivor of child sex trafficking who went on to earn a degree in social work and has worked with victims for over 15 years, including through her own organization, Willow Way. Ms. Jacobs is a sought-after community educator and is skilled at building collaborative efforts to combat sex trafficking.  Ms. Jacobs participated in two legislative briefings and moderated a third briefing on Capitol Hill and was integral in the passage of Arizona’s vacatur law. She held the seat as the Policy Chair for National Survivor Network, created an alternative to jail program, was a speaker at the first International Meeting for Human Trafficking Survivors, served as an evaluator for Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, consulted for Polaris and the Trafficking in Persons office, and is a field trainer for Truckers Against Trafficking.   
Jason Lundquist
Systems Instructor
SAFVIC Systems
Jason Lundquist is currently a SAFVIC Systems instructor who assists in the development, implementation, and training for the Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigators Course (SAFVIC) and SAFVIC Systems programs. Mr. Lundquist has consulted and written sections of the Advanced SAFVIC and Human Trafficking curriculum and has trained hundreds of professionals across the nation. Prior to SAFVIC, Mr. Lundquist retired from the Waco Police Department in 2021. During his tenure as supervisor of the Crimes Against Children Unit, Mr. Lundquist oversaw over 5,200 cases of physical and sexual abuse of children and maintained his own caseload. He also developed and presented curriculum on digital evidence, investigative bias, sexual assault investigation, and human trafficking and wrote or consulted on policies regarding runaway/missing children, child abuse, and sexual assault investigation.
Jerry Meadors
Chief of Police
Rockdale Police Department, Texas
Jerry Meadors is currently the Chief of Police for the Rockdale Police Department located in rural Central Texas. Chief Meadors is a 26-year veteran of law enforcement, the majority of his career investigating domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual exploitation crimes. He has served as an investigator for municipal, county and state law enforcement. Chief Meadors previously served with Office of the Attorney General for the State of Texas as the Commander of the Southern Texas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force while supervising the Child Exploitation, Human Trafficking, Digital Forensics and Fugitive Apprehension Units. He also currently serves in the law enforcement working group for the Governor’s Sexual Assault Survivors Task Force.
Stacey Mitchell
Associate Professor
Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing
Stacey Mitchell is a registered nurse with 29 years of experience in forensic nursing and over 30 years of experience in health care. Dr. Mitchell worked as a Clinical Forensic Nurse and as a Forensic Nurse Death Investigator in Houston, Texas. Currently, Dr. Mitchell is a Clinical Professor at Texas A&M University College of Nursing and Program Coordinator for the Forensic Health Care Program. She teaches in the Master of Science in Nursing in the Forensic Nursing track as well as provides SANE education for the state of Texas in collaboration with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Dr. Mitchell is also the Director, of the Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing at Texas A&M which provides education to forensic nurses throughout Texas and beyond.
Deepika Modali
SART Project Coordinator
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
Deepika Modali is the SART Project Coordinator at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, supporting the 254 counties across the state of Texas that provides advocacy, legal and medical support to sexual assault survivors. Ms. Modali has been part of the movement to end violence for the past 12 years, which includes direct services including hospital accompaniment and legal needs, participating into survivor-led boards and state wide task forces. She is very passionate about inclusivity, providing culturally grounded services, and advocating for all survivors, especially those from overlooked and marginalized communities to be heard.
Erica Olson
Anassa Consulting
Erica Olson, owner of Anassa Consulting, is a professional consultant, trainer, and subject matter expert specializing in interpersonal violence, trauma, and trauma-informed leadership. Erica draws on her 20 years of experience in direct services, advocacy, policy, and applied research to aid nonprofits, government agencies, and the private sector in advancing their knowledge and practices around domestic and sexual violence, gender inequality, and trauma. Erica has been appointed to multiple state and national efforts to address and prevent violence, including the CDC’s Rape Prevention & Education Program and National Violent Death Reporting System. Erica has co-authored curricula, policy, protocols, and legislation, and has been published in the peer-reviewed Victims & Violence. She has trained professionals at all levels, from local to international.
Patricia Powers
Attorney Advisor
Patricia Powers brings extensive litigation expertise as a well-respected trial attorney and Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who specialized in sexual violence, domestic violence, child sexual and physical abuse, homicides, and cold cases to her role as an Attorney Advisor at AEquitas. During her twenty-seven year tenure as a prosecutor in Washington State, Ms. Powers developed a reputation as a tireless advocate for justice by taking even the most complex cases to trial, including two cold case homicides that were later featured on episodes of On the Case with Paula Zahn. Ms. Powers has consistently promoted innovative trial strategies that successfully inform a jury’s response to the evidence introduced in the most complex cases. She was also appointed as a Highly Qualified Expert on an intermittent basis for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division.
Ziwei Qi
Assistant Professor
Fort Hays State University
Ziwei Qi is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Fort Hays State University. Her research incorporates social entrepreneurship and political advocacy elements to inform progressive policies emphasizing economic empowerment through education and technology. In recent years, she has been working with other researchers to establish and develop academic-community collaborations through service-learning, research, and assessment and to create educational opportunities and policy recommendations to enhance the wellbeing of rural communities.
Maybell Romero
Associate Professor of Law
Institute for Innovation in Prosecution
Maybell Romero researches and teaches at the intersection of criminal law, criminal adjudication, and professional ethics. Much of her writing focuses on rural criminal legal systems and prosecutorial ethics, informed by her nearly 10 years of law practice as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and general practitioner in a small community in northern Utah. Prior to joining Tulane Law in the fall of 2021, she was a member of the faculty of Northern Illinois University College of Law. Before that she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Ms. Romero also serves on the Advisory Board of the Beyond Big Cities Program sponsored by the John Jay’s Institute for Innovation in Prosecution.
Myra Strand
Consulting Owner
Strand Squared Solutions
Myra Strand is the owner of Strand² Squared Solutions where she provides training, education, and technical assistance. Since its inception in 2017, Strand² Squared Solutions has worked with tens of thousands of responding professionals. Ms. Strand has experience working with youth who have complex trauma and/or serious mental illness, people with developmental disabilities, youth in competing war zones, offenders, with death notification and with victims of all crime types. She also places a special emphasis on holistic health as it relates to organizational trauma. For nearly 10 years, Ms. Strand taught issues of violence, sexuality and applied intersectionality for over a decade at Northern Arizona University and/or Coconino Community College. She also has taught social justice classes in the Detention Center working on issues of violence and healing.
Jennet Sullivan
Accreditation and Compliance Coordinator
Cedar Park Police Department
Jennet Sullivan, master telecommunicator and licenses TCOLE instructor, has been with Cedar Park Police Department since 2006 and has worked as a Telecommunicator, Training Officer, Supervisor, and currently holds the role of Accreditation Coordinator for the Department, specializing in policy and procedure. Ms. Sullivan is passionate about empowering public safety personnel to view domestic violence and sexual assault as some of the most important calls received in Communication Centers and has received several awards for her work towards this goal, using her personal experience to encourage first responders that they can make a difference.
Charlotte Turpin
Grant Management Specialist
US DOJ-Office on Violence Against Women
Charlotte Turpin is a grant program specialist for the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and has been with OVW for 14 years. Ms. Turpin has worked with several grant programs including transitional housing and tribal governments and currently works with the Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Assistance Rural Program. During the last 10 years, Ms. Turpin has managed hundreds of rural grant projects that have brought much needed victim services to rural areas across the U.S. and U.S. territories.
Maren Woods
Program Director
Praxis International
Maren Woods, Program Director of Praxis International, oversees and delivers programming for Praxis’ Institutional Analysis and Blueprint for Safety programs. Ms. Woods' work in the movement to end violence against women began in northern Minnesota in 2000 when she served as the coordinator of an extensive community-based analysis of the U.S. criminal justice system’s response to violence against Indigenous women. She has since volunteered as an on-call advocate for a battered women's shelter and as a birth doula for low-income women. Ms. Woods' has extensive experience providing expert training and guidance to rural, urban, and suburban communities to assess and improve their institutional response to violence against women in supervised visitation, child protective services, advocacy, and criminal and civil legal systems.