Jeffrey R. Dion (CEO) is an attorney, survivor, and nationally recognized victim advocate. He comes to the Zero Abuse Project after more than twenty years with the National Center for Victims of Crime, where he served as Director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. He has led efforts to reform civil statutes of limitation to expand access to justice for victims of child sex abuse.
From 2002 to 2010, Jeff served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, where he chaired the Victim Services Advisory Committee. He has received numerous awards including the 2006 Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award presented by the U.S. Department of Justice for outstanding innovation and commitment to crime victim legislation. He earned his undergraduate and law degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.
Joelle Casteix (Chair) is one of the leading global advocates and spokespeople for survivors of child sexual assault and cover-up. No one else has her depth of knowledge on the scope and scale of the problem worldwide and the effects of this crime on victims and communities in the areas of health, governance, and trauma.
A founding member of the board of directors of the Zero Abuse Project, she has helped launch ZeroAbuse.ai, an innovative AI tool that evaluates the risk factors that suggest potential predatory individuals within an organization and those associated with cover-up.
Her expertise includes how institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church, public schools, and other organizations cover up and enable child sexual assault; the role parents play in prevention; and how to eradicate and end the cycle through emerging technology and strong victim-friendly legislation.
Joelle is the award-winning author of the bestsellers The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse (RiverGrove Books) and The Power of Responsibility. Joelle is also a former member of the adjunct faculty of the UCI School of Law.
Joelle works with numerous organizations dedicated to stopping child sexual assault, child sex trafficking, and sexual assault within institutions. She speaks across the globe to groups such as schools, universities, governmental organizations, corporations, parents, NGOs, conventions, and civic groups on all aspects of child sexual abuse prevention, healing, and the exposure of the cover-up. Her TEDx talk is being used by therapists in the clinic setting to help survivors of abuse and assault.
Joelle’s other books include: The Compassionate Response: How to help and empower the adult victim of child sexual abuse, and Scram! A Parent’s Quick-Start Guide to Preventing, Identifying, and Ending Bullying.
Michael Johnson (Detective Mike, ret, Secretary) is an internationally recognized expert on all aspects of child abuse and exploitation and specializes in abuse investigation, detection, and prevention efforts for organizations serving youth.
Michael Johnson was the Youth Protection Advisor/Director for the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) from July 2010 to December 2020, where he advised on efforts to improve youth protection policies, training, and procedures to ensure the safest possible environment for BSA youth. Johnson is credited with acting as a change agent to strengthen BSA’s “Youth Protection” program, and he spearheaded the BSA’s efforts to provide ongoing support to survivors and a trauma-informed response to victims of abuse in the organization.
Prior to BSA, Johnson served 24 of his 28 years as the Lead Detective and Family Violence/Abuse Investigator in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Plano, Texas Police Department. In that role, he focused exclusively on interviewing victims, interrogating perpetrators, and investigating child abuse cases, including child sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, and exploitation.
An early pioneer and visionary in the field, Johnson was at the forefront of promoting the multidisciplinary team investigative approach and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) movement in the early 1990s. In 2019, the American Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) at the 26th APSAC Colloquium, recognized Detective Michael Johnson as “one of the most influential pioneers in the investigation of suspected child maltreatment”, in 70+ Years Addressing Child Maltreatment in the USA: Pioneers and APSAC`s Role in Improving Practice, Science and Resiliency. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas.
Michael R. Galantino (Treasurer) is currently the Executive Director of the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, an organization dedicated to providing support to state and local prosecutors throughout the United States through education, networking, and technical support. Mr. Galantino is also an instructor for the Pennsylvania Minor Judiciary Education Board and an adjunct professor in criminal justice at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Galantino served for thirty years in the Delaware County (PA) District Attorney’s Office including the last twenty-one years as Deputy District Attorney and Chief of the Special Victims / Domestic Violence Division. He has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from West Chester University and a Juris Doctor from Villanova University School of Law. He began his career in the District Attorney’s Office in 1989 and was promoted to the criminal trial division in 1991, where he prosecuted a variety of cases over the next seven years.
In 1998, Mr. Galantino was appointed Chief of the newly created Special Victims’ Unit to specialize in cases involving Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Internet Crimes Against Children. He prosecuted thousands of cases in his career, including more than 140 jury trials to verdict. He has taught at the National, State, and local levels on issues including computer-facilitated sexual assault, child abuse and exploitation, ethics, evidence, criminal law, search and seizure and courtroom procedures.
Elizabeth Hobbs currently works for the Virginia Sheriffs Association. She obtained her law degree from the William and Mary School of Law and served as a prosecutor in Richmond, Virginia for 19 years focusing on violent crimes. Elizabeth began her career as a prosecutor primarily handling crimes against children. She ultimately returned to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in a leadership role handling the most serious crimes against children and working closely on the Multidisciplinary Team with law enforcement partners, forensic interviewers and other child advocacy professionals.
Steven Liga is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed substance abuse treatment professional (LSATP), as well as a certified prevention specialist (CPS) and clinical supervisor (CCS) with more than thirty years of experience in the field of social services and behavioral health. His advocacy work has led him to testify before legislative and regulatory committees on both the state and federal level, contributing to the passage of several significant bills in New Jersey, including the Clean Indoor Air Act, two Good Samaritan laws, and state licensure for additional counselors.
Mr. Liga has most recently served as the Executive Director of the Potomac Health Foundation, where he led the foundation through its strategic planning process, updated policies, modernized operations, and oversaw the distribution of over six million dollars to nearly fifty nonprofits. For more than seven years, Mr. Liga was the CEO of Action in Community Through Services (ACTS), a fifty-year-old nonprofit that fosters hope, provides relief, and promotes self-sufficiency for those experiencing crisis.
Prior to his tenure with ACTS, Mr. Liga spent eighteen years as the CEO of the Middlesex
County chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. He has also written the bylaws for several nonprofits and incorporated four new nonprofit organizations. Mr. Liga is the creator of Footprints for Life TM, a prevention program proven to change individual and classroom behavior of young students by teaching them social competency skills. Finally, Mr. Liga is the creator of We’re Not Buying It! TM , a program teaching media literacy skills related to music, film, television, and social media to middle school students.
Jeff Anderson, the founder of Zero Abuse Project, is widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation and a champion of survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Jeff is credited with being instrumental in exposing the large-scale cover-up of pedophile priests in the early 1980s. He is one of the first trial lawyers in America to publicly and aggressively initiate lawsuits against sexual predators, focusing on bringing heat and light on the offenders and the institutions that conceal and protect them.
Dr. Walter Sipe is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Pediatrics, with additional clinical and research training in pediatric gastroenterology. He has an active outpatient psychotherapy and medication management practice serving adults and adolescents. Dr. Sipe spent four years as an attending psychiatrist in the Anxiety Disorders Specialty Clinic of the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, which receives a high proportion of referrals for individuals with developmental trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other trauma-related disabilities. He lectures on PTSD, repressed or recovered memory, and the neurobiology of early childhood stressors.
Patty Wetterling is an advocate focused on protecting children from abduction and abuse. Following the 1989 abduction and murder of her son, Jacob, she co-founded with her husband, Jerry, what became known as the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. She previously served as Chair of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and as Director of Sexual Violence Prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health.