INDIANAPOLIS | Fifteen months after Indiana's primary sexual assault prevention group shut down due to financial mismanagement, a new organization with the same mission of serving victims and training advocates is taking its place.
The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault will distribute federal and state grants, along with privately-raised funds, to local programs working to eliminate the state's epidemic of sexual violence that federal data show victimizes 1 in 6 high school girls and thousands of other Hoosiers each year.
"It is clear that we have a terrible, awful problem here in Indiana, and we have a strong coalition that's going to do something about it," said state Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis.
The Michigan City native, who has championed sexual violence prevention legislation in the General Assembly, is one of 11 board members set to oversee the new organization.
Other leaders include Dr. Jerome Adams, the state health commissioner; Kristina Korobov, assistant U.S. attorney for central and southern Indiana; Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller; and leaders of several victim advocate groups.
Tracey Horth Krueger, of Indianapolis, who has worked for two decades in the fields of domestic and sexual violence prevention, has been appointed interim executive director.
While the initial focus will be on recreating the programs and services of the former Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Hale said she wants the new INCESA to quickly expand its mission to include prevention of campus sexual assault, child seduction, date rape, incest and human trafficking.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute has agreed to fund the organization through the end of the year while Krueger seeks other public and private resources.
The previous sexual assault prevention group suspended operations last June after its board of directors learned it had failed to pay taxes for more than three years.
In November, Zoeller used his authority to intervene in failing charities to have Indianapolis attorney Deborah Daniels appointed court-appointed receiver and take over the group.
She determined it could not remedy its financial difficulties and recommended a new sexual assault prevention organization be created to carry on the mission.