Jeffrey R. Dion
Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Dion 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.
Director, Education and Research
Victor has trained thousands of child-protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. Territories, and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse
investigations, prosecutions and prevention. Victor gained national recognition for his work in addressing child abuse in small communities as a prosecutor in rural Minnesota, and has been named to the President’s Honor Roll of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. In 2012, Victor was awarded the Pro Humanitate Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare.
Victor is the Director of Education and Research of the Zero Abuse Project, a 501©(3) public charity based in St Paul, MN, committed to education, training, and survivor support in order to eradicate child sex abuse and remedy its resulting harms. He is the 2018 President of the Academy on Violence & Abuse, and founder of the National Child Protection Training Center. With NCPTC and its partners, Victor has been instrumental in implementing 22 state and international forensic interview training programs and dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs on child maltreatment.
Mr. Vieth graduated magna cum laude from WSU and earned his Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law (HUSL). In 2017, Victor earned an MA in theology from Wartburg Seminary. Mr. Vieth has published countless articles related to the investigation, prosecution and prevention of child abuse and neglect. He is author of Unto the Third Generation, a bold initiative that outlines the necessary steps we must all take to eliminate child abuse in America in three generations, and On This Rock: A Call to Center the Christian Response to Child Abuse on the Life and Works of Jesus (Wiff & Stock 2018).
Director of Victim Services, Virginia
Shannon is a proud victim advocate with over twenty years of experience serving victims and victim assistance providers, managing high-profile national initiatives, and providing training and technical assistance. She holds a Master’s Degree in Ethics and Society and a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. Shannon has held positions at numerous non-profit organizations, worked for the Office for Victims of Crime's Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC), and most recently, served as Project Manager for the FBI's Victim Services Division (VSD). Her expertise in sexual violence prevention and response includes building the capacity of law enforcement, corrections, and medical personnel to more effectively serve victims of crime. At the FBI, Shannon ran a five-year initiative aimed at improving federal agencies' response to victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault in tribal nations, led numerous VSD projects, and recently served as Associate Director of OVC's Federal, International and Tribal Division on a one-year detail assignment. She is grateful for her wonderful friends and family, members in her Group Exercise classes at Gold's Gym, that the Nebraska Cornhuskers are on an upswing, and for hikes in Acadia National Park.
Ed.D., Director, Center for Child Advocacy Studies
Tyler has worked over six years in both the public and private laboratory sector, having been employed as a Microbiologist, DNA Specialist, Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manager, and Forensic Scientist throughout the span of his laboratory career. His most recent venture involved working as a Forensic Scientist with the Indiana State Police, Laboratory Division. Tyler’s forensic training also includes knowledge in the following fields: drug analysis; questioned document analysis; firearms; fingerprinting; photography; trace evidence analysis; crime scene investigation; child forensic interviewing.
In addition to his laboratory service, Tyler has extensive experience working in post-secondary education. With over seven years of professional work experience at institutions of higher education, he has served as an Associate Professor for traditional and online learning platforms, with a combined five years of program development and directorial leadership experience for Child Advocacy Studies (CAST), Criminal Justice and Forensic Science programs. Tyler also possesses an in-depth understanding of program assessment and accreditation for both traditional and non-traditional curricula. Tyler’s academic duties continue outside the classroom through work as both a manuscript reviewer and editorial board member for a variety of peer-reviewed publication outlets.
As both a lab analyst and educator, Tyler has come to appreciate the need for engagement-based learning that prepares professionals from all walks of life to identify and respond to the varying forms of child maltreatment that exists. Tyler is dedicated to using his experience as a scientist and educator to support child advocacy initiatives and improve both academia and research within this realm. As the Director of CAST for the Zero Abuse Project, he pledges to assist faculty with training, development, and implementation as it pertains to CAST programming at their institutions.
Dr. Counsil has a B.A. in Biology from Hanover College (Hanover, IN), a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Oakland City University (Oakland City, IN), and both a M.S. and Ed.D. in Biology from Ball State University (Muncie, IN).
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences
- Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Science Teachers Association
- Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences
Director, Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
Alison Feigh, MS, is the Director of Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, a program of Zero Abuse Project. In this role, she works with students, parents, youth workers, faith leaders, law enforcement and the media to help prevent abuse and abductions. Alison’s work also includes writing curriculum for youth-serving organizations, training professionals about the online challenges kids face and advocating for families of the missing. Alison has been working in the sexual abuse prevention field for more than 19 years. As a classmate of Jacob Wetterling, she learned early on how important it is to protect children and youth from exploitation.
As a subject matter expert on child and teen safety, Alison trains professionals, parents, and youth in Minnesota and nationally. Her safety messages are highlighted in her children’s books, “On Those Runaway Days” and “I Can Play It Safe.” Both titles were released nationally in 2008 by Free Spirit Publishing and have recently been translated into Chinese.
Alison received her self-designed major in “Responding to Missing Children in the U.S.” along with a major in Communication from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn and earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from St. Cloud State University.
Alison is thankful for the opportunities she has been given as a youth worker and she continues to work with young people in youth ministry, camping ministry, and theatre companies.
Program Manager, Education and Research
Suzanne Severson joined the Zero Abuse Project in early 2019 as its Program Manager for Education and Research, coming directly from the National Child Protection Training Center and Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. Having a background in science and medical research, Suzanne became passionate about protecting children during her role as Board Chair of Twin Cities Voice of the Faithful, where she served as an advocate for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Suzanne is proud to have provided legislative testimony and other contributing efforts towards passing the Minnesota Child Victims Act of 2013, and is passionate about caring for the clients and children we serve.
Haley graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Law and Society, which drew her to the victim services field. She began in direct services as an overnight crisis response advocate for a local domestic violence organization and later joined the National Center for Victims of Crime as a Victim Assistance Specialist. Haley eventually transitioned into administrative roles at the National Center as a finance and program specialist before beginning with Zero Abuse Project in 2018.
Community Engagement Coordinator- Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
Abbey joined JWRC, a Program of Zero Abuse Project, in 2017. She earned her B.A. in Communication at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire (2013) and has worked as a Stage Manager in New York City. She is passionate about the work to end all forms of child maltreatment through education, training and prevention while advocating for and serving children, adult survivors and communities. Abbey is excited for the opportunity to share stories of impact and change with all who partner with Zero Abuse Project and JWRC to make this world a safer place.
Victim Assistance Specialist
Jane is the Victim Assistance Specialist for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (JWRC), a program of Zero Abuse Project. In this role, she trains and educates on topics related to violence and prevention, supports families who have a missing loved one and advocates for victims and families struggling with the effects of abuse or neglect.
Jane has been working in the violence prevention and intervention field for over 20 years and has worked with youth and families for more than 25 years. In addition to providing advocacy and support, Jane is a national trainer on topics such as missing persons, domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, trafficking, bullying/cyberbullying, reproductive coercion, healthy relationships, consent and impact of trauma (Ace Study). She was instrumental in creating the curriculum and is the principal trainer for “From Trauma to Resilience: Fostering Hope through Trauma Informed Care”. Her training audience ranges from pre-school to college-age students, victim/survivors to offenders, parents, teachers, community leaders and all professionals working with youth. One of Jane’s goals is to work collaboratively with fields such as law enforcement, all components of health, education, social services and business to collectively connect the dots of risk and prevention, to provide coordinated services and create hope and health for all of our children and families.
Jane provides direct case management in cases of family and nonfamily abduction, lost, injured or otherwise missing children, runaway youth and adults missing under suspicious circumstances. Assistance includes reunification assistance, emotional support, reporting procedures, posters, flyers and social media campaigns, working with law enforcement and media and referrals for search and rescue. Connecting families with appropriate support and resources is vital when a person is missing. Advocacy continues for as long as a loved one may be missing including resources for reunification, services needed upon recovery as well as support for cases where the loved one is recovered deceased.
She provides advocacy and support to victims, families and allies of those experiencing any type of child maltreatment, exploitation, stalking, sexual assault and domestic violence. Assistance includes emotional support, aid in navigating the justice system such as court advocacy, victim impact statements, notification procedures and compensation, traditional and non-traditional support groups incorporating trauma informed yoga, writing and the arts.
Lead Forensic Interview Specialist
Rita Farrell serves as the Lead Forensic Interview Specialist of the Zero Abuse Project. Rita has been in the field for more than 20 years and manages the ChildFirst® Forensic Interview Training Program, ChildFirst® Arkansas state program, and the development of advanced training courses and programs for forensic interviewers. Rita is a certified law enforcement instructor and provides training and technical assistance for child protection professionals. Rita currently conducts forensic interviews and has interviewed more than 1,500 children. She serves as an expert witness on child sexual abuse, authored many peer reviewed articles specific to forensic interviewing and has trained nationally since 2005 on issues relating to child maltreatment and forensic interviewing. Rita graduated from Ball State University with a degree in secondary education and was the founding executive director of Chaucie’s Place, a Child Advocacy Center in Hamilton County, Indiana. As a national trainer, Rita continues to champion the cause of child advocacy and the field of forensic interviewing.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist and Community Outreach Specialist
Beatriz began her career working in public service in 1999 when she worked as a caseworker in a state senate office. There, she helped constituents in areas of housing, family services, and other state-related matters. After graduating from college, Beatriz worked for the US Census Bureau leading the [community] partnership operation in Central Orange County as the Partnership Specialist Team Leader. Beatriz and her team were successful in creating partnerships with schools, non profit organizations, rotary clubs, businesses, and faith based communities, to ensure a successful census 2010 count in Orange County. She then worked for Delhi Center, a non-profit, as the Director of Community Engagement. There, she assisted many families through various programs and services. Most recently, Beatriz worked for a Senior member of Congress as a Senior Field Representative. There she assisted constituents in the following issue area: seniors, health, art, education, women and children, and helped callers with other federal matters. In addition to serving the community in various roles, Beatriz is a California Notary Public and offers her services free of cost to veterans, seniors, and families in need. She is also state certified as a Domestic Violence Counselor and works with the local shelters and local organizations to help women and men find shelter, food, utility bills, clothes, and other necessities. Beatriz is a leader in her community and has served as an appointed Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Ana, CA and a member of the city’s General Master Plan Advisory Group and helped revise the city’s master plan which had not been revised since the 80s. Beatriz holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Because of her work in the community, Beatriz has received numerous awards and most recently received the “Volunteer of the Year Award” by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, "National Notary Public of the Year Honoree" by the National Notary Association, and the “National Woman of the Year” by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Policy and Communications Associate
Mitchell joined the Zero Abuse Project in 2018. He earned his M.S. in Justice, Law, and Criminology with a concentration in public policy from American University in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the Zero Abuse team, he has worked with various criminal justice reform measures within the Office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice. Mitchell is dedicated to improving our criminal justice system, ending all child sexual abuse, and ensuring every victim receives the justice they deserve.
Special Projects Manager
Victoria Hougham is a clinical social worker with more than 15 years of experience in program and project management in the victim services field. Victoria is currently the Special Projects Manager at Zero Abuse Project, where she manages unique organizational partnerships and grant-related projects.
Previously, Victoria was the Director of Victim Services at the National Center for Victims of Crime where she served as project director on four Department of Justice funded projects. There, Victoria developed and managed many successful technology-based programs, including the VictimConnect Resource Center, a national phone, chat, and text helpline for crime victims, and the DC Victim Hotline, a local 24/7 crime victim hotline. She also established and coordinated the National
Hotline Consortium, a group of leading national victim services and crisis intervention hotlines.
Victoria also spent six years providing clinical case management, crisis intervention, and therapy to survivors of labor and sex trafficking at Polaris and four years of in-person and online crisis counseling to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence at RAINN and the DC Rape Crisis Center.
Victoria obtained a BA from Kenyon College, an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the District of Columbia.
Victim Assistance Specialist
Ms. Moskowitz holds a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor's in political science. She has over nine years of experience within child advocacy centers, working in a variety of roles including victim advocate, case coordinator, forensic interviewer and counselor.
Victim Assistance Specialist
Victim Assistance Specialist
Chaim Levin has been an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse since 2012 after publiclly disclosing his own experience of childhood sexual abuse. Since then, Levin has been actively involved in exposing coverups of clergy abuse cases in the Ultra Orhtoodox community that he was raised in. He has also supported and empowered others through tht eprocess of coming forward about their own cases of sexual abuse.
Previously he interned at the law firm Saeed & Little. During his time at Saeed & Little and in the months prior, he helped ensure that a case of alleged sexual abuse of multiple minors was brought to light; this case is still in litigation.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, New York
Ms. Blume holds a Master of Social Work from Fordham and a bachelor’s in criminology. She previously worked as a clinical forensic specialist for Safe Horizon. She has seven years of professional experience working with trauma survivors.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, California Team Lead
Rachel previously worked as an advocate for District Attorney Offices in Riverside and Marin Counties. She has eleven years of experience in victim services.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, California
Ms. Hernandez has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and is pursuing a Master of Social Work. She has three years of experience working as a victim advocate for the Marion County Prosecutor in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is fully bilingual in Spanish/English.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, New York
Aida holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Political Science from the City University of New York and currently pursuing her Master of Social Work. She has worked in the field of domestic violence providing direct services to survivors for 9 years.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, Illinois Team Lead
Ms. Nolan has a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She previously served as Clinical and Advocacy Services Manager at the Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault. She has eleven years of experience working with survivors of sexual violence.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, New York
Ms. O’Connor is a Human Services Specialist with over 12 years of experience providing therapeutic services to at-risk populations. She previously served as executive assistant to the Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY, where she provided support and direction to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, New York
Ms. Zahann Nelson is bilingual in Haitian Creole and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and International Studies and has been in Victim Services for several years. Previously, Ms. Nelson worked for several non-profits organizations in New York as a Victim’s Advocate providing crisis intervention and short term counseling within the criminal justice system. By utilizing a trauma informed lens, she places an emphasis on the client’s needs and understanding that trauma is multilayered. Ms. Nelson has experience collaborating with local police, other social services organizations, and court systems to advocate on behalf of her clientele. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, Illinois
Ms. Morhman has a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. She previously served as a Medical & Legal Advocate for sexual assault survivors at the YWCA of Chicago. She has four years of experience working in victim services.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist, Team Lead
Ms. Ozuna is a bilingual Social Worker who earned a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University (NY). She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (NY). She has fifteen years of experience in the victim services field including non-profit organizations and the New York Unified Court System. During which time she has worked with both the survivors, as well as the perpetrators. The ability to work with both sides has allowed her to advance further in her clinical concentration while becoming an advocate and bettering the world for a better future.
Victim Assistance Civil Specialist - NJ
As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse Mark has advocated for victims of sexual abuse and victims for more than 25 years. After completing two years of college at Don Bosco seminary in New Jersey, Mark began working with MaleSurvivor, serving as a member of the conference committee and later elected to serve as a Board member and officer.
Mark has presented workshops at conferences and has been a guest speaker at many colleges and universities, discussing male sexual victimization and clergy abuse. He currently serves as NJ SNAP leader, holding monthly support group meetings for those sexually abused.
Mark is one of three main subjects featured in the documentary “Boys and Men Healing”, as he discusses the impact of sexual victimization, the healing process and ultimately his decision to advocate for other survivors of sexual victimization by changing laws. He was a guest of Oprah Winfrey's award winning 2 part episode of "200 Men Abused as Children". In 2010 Mark was one of 29 survivors and advocates invited to the White House for a 2-day round table discussion on sexual abuse and violence in America. He is particularly proud of his collaboration which led to the federal definition of rape being amended to include the rape of boys and men.
Mark has been employed as a manager and supervisor for both Continental and United Airlines for more than 27 years. He has served on the board of its charity "United We Care" supporting employees in need. He has led fundraising efforts for Special Olympics and March of Dimes for many years, raising tens of thousands of dollars for those charities.
Mark enjoys saltwater fishing, golf and of course, traveling. He is happily married to his wife Geralyn and has three children, Rebecca, Sarah and Joshua.
Robert Peters, Esq.
Robert J. Peters is the Senior Attorney of the Zero Abuse Project, where he develops and delivers state-of-the-art training and comprehensive technical assistance to prosecutors and child abuse multidisciplinary team members on crimes against children.
Previously, Robert worked as the Senior Cyber and Economic Crime Attorney & General Counsel with the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), where his efforts included providing subject matter expertise on topics and trainings related to child abuse, human trafficking, and Internet-facilitated child exploitation, and acting as lead instructor for NW3C’s Judges & Prosecutors courses.
Mr. Peters served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Marion and Hampshire counties in West Virginia, as well as Special Prosecutor in multiple statewide jurisdictions where he specialized in the prosecution of sexual offenses, civil child abuse and neglect cases, and juvenile crime. Peters started and ended his tenure in Marion County with the jury trial and conviction of sexual predators.
In addition to his prosecutorial experience, Robert authored several child protection-related articles in peer-reviewed publications, including the Florida Journal of International Law, Handbook on Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan, and Christian Ethics Today. While in law school, Peters clerked at the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia.
Mr. Peters served on the faculty of the 34th International Symposium on Child Abuse, where he developed and co-presented training involving the investigation and prosecution of child abuse perpetrated in the context of faith communities. Prior to serving as prosecutor, Robert designed comprehensive child protection policies for numerous entities including educational institutions, churches, and non-profit organizations.
Mr. Peters is the founder and Chairman of the SHIELD Task Force, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that partners with Child Advocacy Centers and local stakeholders to encourage reporting of sexual abuse and online safety. This initiative has brought age-appropriate abuse prevention education to thousands of school-aged children and numerous civic and community groups. Mr. Peters also serves on the WV Child Advocacy Network (WVCAN) Board of Directors and WV Human Trafficking Task Force. In 2019, Robert received the WV State Police Center for Children’s Justice Extra Mile Award for demonstrated professional leadership and personal commitment in going the Extra Mile on behalf of children and families.
Forensic Interview Specialist
Rachel Johnson is a Forensic Interview Specialist with Zero Abuse Project. She most recently served as the Program Director for the Minnesota Children’s Alliance and has over a decade of experience in work related to forensic interviewing, multidisciplinary teams, advocacy, child abuse, prevention education, sexual assault and family violence, both domestically and abroad.
Prior to her work at the Alliance, Rachel served as a forensic interviewer and the Forensic Program Coordinator at First Witness Child Advocacy Center in Duluth, Minn. She is trained in multiple forensic interview protocols and received Bachelor of Science degrees in Public Service, Sociology and Spanish at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.
Rachel is passionate about working directly with children and families, supporting frontline professionals and improving the institutional response to victimization by centering the experiences of victims at all levels of consideration and decision-making.
Victim Assistance Specialist
Kaelie serves as a Victim Assistance Specialist for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, a program of Zero Abuse Project. After earning a B.A. in sociology/anthropology, women's and gender studies, and family studies from St. Olaf College in 2016, Kaelie worked in undergraduate college admissions until joining the JWRC in 2019. Kaelie focuses on supporting each individual and family holistically and through an intersectional, trauma-informed lens.