After ousting its leader, state council on sexual assault hires a temp

Jayne Andreen has been named interim head of the state’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on an interim basis, filling the void left by Lauree Morton, who was asked to resign.

The nine-member board that leads the council voted unanimously during a special meeting Wednesday to hire Andreen. She’s a former executive director of CDVSA and is president of the Alaska Public Health Association Board of Directors.

During Wednesday’s meeting, council chair Patricia Owen said Andreen will oversee two grants — one through the U.S. Department of Justice Violence Against Women Act and another through the DOJ’s Victims of Crimes Act.

Council member Rachel Gernat said the grants allow the council to distribute funding to victim services programs. She said hiring Andreen will ensure the council doesn’t stop doing its work.

“This was the approach that we came up with to allow the office to continue to run, that we continue to have a voice in the Legislature and, more importantly, that we continue to be able to receive the funding that we have,” Gernat said.

The council did not include public comment on its Wednesday agenda, but Owen read four statements that had been submitted to her after a special Dec. 12 meeting. All expressed dismay over Morton’s departure.

[Alaska’s top anti-rape leader forced out]

Morton’s last day as CDVSA’s executive director was Dec. 15. She stepped down from the position after Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan asked her to resign, citing his and the governor’s desire for CDVSA to go in a “different direction.”

Christine Pate, legal program director for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, referenced Morton’s “political acumen,” “fierce work ethic” and wrote, “It is my personal belief that Ms. Morton has been the most effective executive director that the council has had in the last 20 years.”

Christine King wrote Morton had “great integrity” and left a “legacy of affecting change for all Alaskans.

“The uncertainty of CDVSA’s future direction makes it very challenging for community partners to know how to help as we’re not privy on the changes our governor would like to see happen,” King wrote. “I understand that at the end of the day that we must move on amid decisions or directions that we may be weary of and I implore the council to continue to work with those of us in the community that represent those who have been historically voiceless.”

The council plans to finalize recruitment material for a new executive director in January.

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or lisa.phu@juneauempire.com.

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