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Governor Mills Announces Appointments to Military Sexual Trauma Advisory Council

Governor Janet Mills today announced appointments to the permanent Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma. The Council, established by an Executive Order signed by the Governor, will work to ensure that survivors of harassment or assault in the military are being connected to all available resources and to improve the Maine National Guard’s responses to assault and harassment within its ranks.

“I am grateful for the service of these Council members and believe that their combined experience and knowledge can provide us with a path forward 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 commitment to taking immediate, responsive action to reported allegations, providing justice and support for survivors, and delivering accountability for the perpetrators.”

The members appointed by Governor Mills to the Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma 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 Prosecutors Association
  • Dale Lancaster, President of the Maine Sheriffs' Association
  • Scott Stewart, Maine Chiefs of Police Association Designee
  • 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 charged with making recommendations to the Governor by December 1, 2022 about how the Maine National Guard can improve its response to sexual assault and sexual harassment within its ranks, with particular focus on coordinating state and local law enforcement and prosecutors and National Guard personnel as they respond to individual cases.

The Advisory Council is the next step in the Mills Administrations’ efforts to support members of the Guard who have suffered sexual harassment or assault.

To better support survivors as they interact with law enforcement or the legal system, in 2017 the Maine National Guard created, and recently strengthened, an Office of the Provost Marshal to serve as a centralized liaison and conduit to the law enforcement and criminal justice community. The provost marshal also ensures that service members who are victims of any crime have Maine National Guard support as their cases move forward. The Guard also recently hired its first-ever Victim Advocate Coordinator, which will enable the SAPR program to better recruit, train, and credential additional victim advocates, as well as provide additional 24/7 support to victims.

Additionally, with Federal funding now becoming available, Maine and other states are laying the groundwork for an Integrated Primary Prevention Program, as the National Guard looks to enhance existing programming by drawing holistic preventative efforts under a single umbrella. For Maine, this means an additional team of up to four personnel focused on increasing resilience and further reducing self-harm, substance abuse, any form of family or workplace abuse, and other issues that affect military populations and their families.

Last year, Governor Mills signed into law LD 625, which directed the Maine National Guard to evaluate what actions could be taken at the State level to strengthen or improve the Guard’s response to sexual harassment and assault. In March, the Maine National Guard submitted that report to the Legislature, identifying five steps to strengthen its response to sexual assault and harassment, including forming the Advisory Council. The Governor then signed into law LD 2029, which when taken together with the Advisory Council and other actions being undertaken by the Maine National Guard, will fulfil the five action steps identified in the report to improve the Guard’s response to sexual harassment and assault.