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Rape Crisis Failure:
How the Children’s Advocacy Center Betrayed a Victim at Her Most Vulnerable

| July 1, 2013

The victim waited for a post-rape examination three hours at Florida Hospital Flagler, her mouth and nose full of dirt, only to be told that she'd be taken to St. Augustine for the exam when the Children's Advocacy Center failed to provide a certified nurse the morning of June 14. (Quinn Dombrowski)

The victim waited for a post-rape examination three hours at Florida Hospital Flagler, her mouth and nose full of dirt, only to be told that she’d be taken to St. Augustine for the exam when the Children’s Advocacy Center failed to provide a certified nurse the morning of June 14. (Quinn Dombrowski)

In Brief: After a Flagler Beach woman was allegedly raped on June 14, the Children’s Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach was responsible for providing a certified nurse to conduct an exam and gather evidence in a private setting. It failed on all counts. A FlaglerLive investigation reveals the extent of a failure that local police have been contending with since the center opted to cut its ties with the provider who’d ensured a functioning system for many years.

A FlaglerLive Investigation


Around 3 a.m. the morning of June 14 in Flagler Beach, a 38-year-old woman was allegedly attacked and raped by James McDevitt, a 21-year-old Palm Coast resident. The alleged rape, witnessed by a neighbor who stopped it by calling cops, took place in a vacant lot on South 14th Street and South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach. McDevitt remains at the Flagler County jail on $101,000 bond. The investigation is ongoing.

There has been no official investigation into the disturbing and undisputed events that took place after the alleged rape, when the victim, according to Flagler Beach Police Chief Dan Cody, his chief investigator, the nurse who eventually cared for the victim and Flagler county’s sheriff all say the woman was essentially victimized again.

That happened because the Children’s Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach, the mostly publicly funded non-profit agency responsible for providing the certified nurse and the secure and private location where a rape examination must take place, failed to do either. (Flagler County government has contributed $50,000 a year to the center, year after year.) As far as the victim was concerned that morning, the center’s claim—that it is “committed to providing quality forensic, therapeutic and prevention services to all child abuse and sexual assault victims and a gentle and professional manner”—was bunk.

Even the claim of  “professional manner” proved to be an offensive parody of the reality the advocacy center was about that morning. When the detective got through to the center’s hotline to make a request for the certified nurse, the operator at the other end was rude at first, then was ignorant of the fact that a rape is, indeed, a sexual assault.

That was only the beginning of a nearly three-hour ordeal as Flagler Beach police detective Liz Williams attempted through innumerable phone calls and texts to secure a nurse, only to be told by a supervisor at the advocacy center to take her victim to Seminole County.

A $4 Million Agency Unable to Provide a $300 Service

The Children’s Advocacy Center is a $4 million agency. Providing a nurse would have cost $300. The center would have made a $200 profit doing so, because it gets a $500 reimbursement from the state Attorney General’s office for every one of those examinations. It did not provide a nurse because it could not locate one, or a back-up one, as the victim waited, hour after hour, her mouth and nose full of dirt, which she was told she could not wash off because it was part of the evidence that had to be properly collected.

“The long and short of it we made an attempt to bring a nurse in and we could not find a nurse to come in,” Reggie Williams, the CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Center, said. (There are three Williamses cited in this article. They are not related.) “I make no excuses for what occurred.”

But it wasn’t the first time. Police agencies in Flagler and Volusia, including the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, have had to take victims to Seminole County for exams, and may still have to take them to Volusia as long as a facility in Bunnell is not available.

That facility used to be available, just as forensic nursing services were available for nearly a decade without a problem, until the Children’s Advocacy Center last April ended a contract providing those services. The change sent the system in a tailspin, at victims’ expense—and at the expense of solid legal cases: the forensic nurse’s responsibility is not only to conduct a proper exam, gathering evidence, but to interpret that evidence in court, and ensure that the prosecution’s case is buttressed by untainted or incomplete evidence. If the rape is drug-induced (no such allegation has been made in the Flagler Beach case), the drugs usually used in such cases dissipate very rapidly, so every hour that passes without an exam diminishes the effectiveness of the evidence, and weakens the case in court.

“The bottom line is it’s very important psychologically and emotionally as well to get these things done as quickly as possible. Reggie knows how we feel about those things,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza, whose office oversees St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Volusia counties, said. His office also relies on evidence gathered by the forensic nurses for its cases. “I’ve communicated that to him and I think Reggie understands and feels that what happened is not acceptable.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s a chronic problem. I’d say it’s a problem,” Larizza said of the unavailability of nurses at critical times.  “I don’t know what happened before to facilitate the change but I know it needs to work appropriately, and that’s what we’re expecting.”

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre says anything less is unacceptable.

“We must have the ability to process the forensics of sexual assaults here in this community,” Manfre said. “To take victims after they’ve been through this horrific experience and put them in a patrol car and take them a half hour a way or an hour away just continues to victimize them. It’s got to be the goal between all law enforcement and the state attorney’s office that we have the ability to do that here in this community.”

Corner-Cutting’s High Cost

What took place that morning of June 14 has been happening for months to other investigators in the district. The difference on June 14 was an extensive investigative report by Flagler Beach Police Detective Liz Williams, who narrated the extent of the obstacles she encountered on her way to conducting a proper investigation from the moment she received the call about the alleged attack, in the middle of the night, to the remainder of the day as she followed up the case, with the victim. The difference as well was the willingness of forensic nurses to speak up about what they had been doing for years, without a problem, until the advocacy council changed course.

“Basically, it’s a screwed up mess,” says Marge Underwood, a retired nurse who’d been providing forensic exams for almost a decade before the council aborted the system. “The thing that amazes me is nobody wants to say what’s going on. I just met my tolerance level and couldn’t keep quiet anymore.”

The case illustrates what happens when a largely government-funded agency decides to save money—or cut corners—without gauging the consequences, or having a system in place to ensure that what it is replacing is functioning properly.

Why the advocacy center severed its contract with Susan Williams’s Medical Legal Education Consultants in spring—the company Williams had created to coordinate forensic nursing and education services—is still murky. Reggie Williams, the head of the advocacy council, says he was directed to end that contract because the council itself could provide the services, though the contract had cost a mere $24,000, a drop in the bucket for a $4 million agency that claims, in its 2010 IRS filing, that $341,232 was devoted to forensic and therapeutic services to sexual assault victims.

The advocacy council claims to be contracting with nurses individually, making a coordination contract unnecessary. Clearly, that Thursday morning, the system failed.

Susan Williams’s company is still around, so are her nurses, but not as contractors with the council. They provide services in St. Johns County and elsewhere, and are under contract with the Betty Griffin House, the emergency shelter in St. Johns County.

Liz Williams, the Flagler Beach detective, had long worked with Suzy Williams, and finally decided on her own to take her victim to Betty Griffin House that Thursday morning, rather than subject her to more hours’ wait and a longer ride to Seminole County. Only then was the victim  examined by a SANE nurse, as goes the acronym for the forensic nurses—Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

An Offensive Comedy of Errors

The victim was allegedly attacked twice minutes after 3 a.m. (Read the details here and here.)

A Flagler Beach police officer called Detective Williams at 3:12 a.m. Williams was at home, asleep. Normally when a call comes in in the middle of the night, she is able to coordinate whatever services are required in a matter of minutes on her phone while getting dressed. By the time she leaves her house, people have been assigned to their designated roles.

Not that morning. After the officer briefed Williams on the incident, and told her that the victim had been evacuated to Florida Hospital Flagler, Williams, at 3:17 a.m., called the Child Advocacy Center’s hotline to request a SANE nurse.

The first hitch had already been recorded: the victim should not have been taken to the hospital’s emergency room. The last place victims of rape want to be seen is in a brightly lit, highly trafficked area with nurses, doctors, paramedics, other staff, patients and visitors teeming about. That’s why for years the advocacy center had a private exam room in Bunnell, ready for that purpose. The room was not available that night. Hasn’t been since the center decided to end the previous arrangement.

Reggie Williams, the advocacy center director, disputes the fact that the room was not available. “The CAC office was and always has been available for examinations in Bunnell,” he said. “We are in the process of relocating that office within the same building but across the hall into larger quarters where we’ll have a much larger and improved examining room in our facility. But law enforcement has always been told that in FC our facilities were available.”

That’s not what Detective Williams was told that morning. That’s not the impression law enforcement in Flagler County was under. Detective Williams had no choice but to concede that the victim would be at the ER. Reggie Williams says the victim went to the ER because it was also a medical emergency.

Does Your Rape Have Anything to Do With Sexual Assault?

The woman who answered the phone on the hotline, hearing the detective’s request for a SANE nurse, “seemed to be very confused about any protocol for such a request,” Williams wrote in her report, “and at one point asked me ‘what it was I wanted from her?’” Williams again explained the situation. “The operator then asked me if my rape had anything to do with a sexual assault? I advised that it did and she asked me to hold and she was going to call someone else who may know more about what to do.”

This, from a hotline operator ostensibly trained by the Children’s Advocacy Council to handle precisely that sort of calls, among others.

“I can’t speak to what the operator on the hotline may have said,” Reggie Williams said in an interview. “What we can do is follow up to find out what was said and provide additional training to the operator so the appropriate information is captured.”

Of course, the problem wasn’t just with the operator. Detective Williams had essentially placed the equivalent of a 911 call on behalf of a victim, only to be put on hold “for an extended period of time.” The operator finally came back on the line and said she’d been speaking with Gina Pinner, the SANE nurse coordinator, and would now connect the detective to the coordinator. She kept trying to do so. She kept failing.

Then the line went dead.

Detective Williams repeatedly called back. Busy signal.

A $4 million agency’s hotline—a core service it is built for and advertises itself about—could not, in the middle of the night, at the slowest time of business, take a call.

The detective after repeated attempts finally made it through to the operator, only to be told that Pinner would be calling her back. To avoid more obstacles or cut-offs, the detective asked for Pinner’s number directly, “since so much time had already elapsed.”

Sorry. Against policy, Detective Williams was told.

Williams, who’s had 18 years’ experience as a cop, by then is picturing the victim in her mind, traumatized, surrounded by strangers, being told to sit and wait. And Williams is hearing that a detective on the case directly contacting a nurse coordinator whose salary is mostly publicly funded is “against policy.”

More time passes. Pinner finally calls. She tells Williams that she would locate a SANE nurse for her and send her to Florida Hospital Flagler.

The Delay Will help the Victim “Sober Up”

At 4:08, or 51 minutes after placing the call to the advocacy center, the detective is able to leave her house and head to the hospital, under the impression that she’d be met by a SANE nurse there.

Twenty-two minutes later, at 4:30 a.m., Williams hasn’t heard confirmation yet of a nurse. She calls Pinner for an ETA.

“Gina advised that she had been unable to reach the on-call SANE nurse or the back-up nurse,” Williams wrote. “Gina stated that this happens occasionally and that it would give the victim a chance to ‘sober up.’”

The victim would have a chance to “sober up.”

The detective was floored by what she was hearing—the inappropriateness, the unprofessionalism, the offensive suggestion of the comment. Detective Williams told Pinner that that sort of delay had never occurred under the previous provider, “and that my victim did not need to sober up. She needed a SANE nurse.”

When Williams made contact with the victim, she was in a C collar around her neck. “I could see that there was an abundance of dirt impacted in and around her nostrils and dried dirt around her lips,” Williams reported. “She was alternating from crying and being emotional to being angry that this person had done this to her.” The victim was bruised on her neck and under the chin. Her voice was unusually raspy. The victim’s throat was hurting, and she was having difficulties swallowing.

She had told police that her alleged assailant had forced his penis in her mouth, among other acts of brutality. She said the suspected assailant “had put her face in the dirt with such force that she had been gasping for breath but was only inhaling large amounts of dirt, and believes she lost consciousness on at least one occasion from that as well as from being strangled manually around her neck.”

She had bruises and lacerations in other parts of her body, and her hair was matted with dirt and debris. She continued to complain about the dirt in her mouth and repeatedly asked permission to rinse the dirt.

She was told she couldn’t. She was told to be patient, that a nurse would be there soon, and that she’d be allowed to rinse at the end of the exam.

Detective Williams, by then in possession of Pinner’s number, texts her for an ETA again. Pinner texts back that she was still unable to locate a nurse. Williams, drawing on her experience, asks Pinner for an address of the on-call nurse, or a back-up nurse, so police could go to her door, wake her up, and bring her to the hospital.

Pinner said she did not have the nurses addresses. Not even from their job applications? Not even from their applications.

You Won’t Get a Nurse

At that point, there was a question of whether the Child Advocacy Center’s nurses even existed. But Pinner sent another text to Williams saying she’d located the Child Advocacy Center’s nursing supervisor, Amy Pendinger. Williams asked whether Pendinger was trained to do the exam. She never got an answer.

At 5:27 a.m., almost two and a half hours after the beginning of the ordeal, Pendinger called Williams only to say that the Children’s Advocacy Center would not be sending a SANE nurse. Pinner later called Williams, apologized over the mess-up, and suggested that one option was to have the victim examined by hospital staff, though a proper exam must be conducted by an individual trained and certified in evidence collection. Pinner then suggested Seminole County, and that she would send an advocate to be with the victim. But Williams already had Flagler Beach’s own advocate with the victim, Cheryl Clark, who had been with her almost from the moment police responded. (Pendinger declined to be interviewed, referring the call to Reggie Williams.)

“Given the victim had at this point been waiting for hours for an exam,” Williams wrote, the detective “permitted her to rinse her mouth of the dirt and sand lodged there despite her alleging that the suspect had ‘stuck his dick down her throat,’ and thereby eliminating potential evidence.”

Williams then, through several additional calls tapping into her previous contacts arranged for an exam at Betty Griffin House in St. Augustine, where the exam was finally carried out by Marge Underwood.

The victim was taken back to Flagler Beach police for a statement at 10:07 a.m., seven hours after the alleged attack.

People familiar with that morning’s events are livid over the way they unfolded, cruelly and unnecessarily.

“We provided services for 10 years, never missed a case,” Suzy Williams, who previously coordinated the system, said. “A victim is a victim. I don’t care where they’re being seen.”

From Bad to Good to Bad

The history of rape-crisis intervention in the 7th judicial circuit, which includes Flagler, St. Johns, Putnam and Volusia counties, is checkered. The Rape Crisis Center that had operated from a building leased from Halifax hospital for some 25 years closed in September 2004 as it faced a $50,000 debt and repeated problems with the IRS, including a director of the center—Franklin Nooe—who ended up in prison for embezzling money owed the government. The Children’s Advocacy Center took over the forensic nursing services at that point, with the State Attorney’s office directing police agencies to take their victims there. In Flagler, the Family Life Center began offering some of those services. But it would have eventually its own issues.

The United Way of Volusia/Flagler, Flagler County Government and the Department of Health are among the sources of the center’s current $3.9 million budget. The rape-crisis component of the advocacy center became the Sexual Assault Recovery Team. It expanded into Flagler, West Volusia, St. Johns and Putnam, and until last year, it worked well. In April 2012, Suzy Williams, who was coordinating the program, was told that her services were no longer required. It was a cost-saving move. She was re-hired as a contractor, at $24,000 a year—less than a living wage—to continue providing SANE nurses. She did. But a year later, the advocacy center ended that contract, figuring it could do the job itself.

Reggie Williams says it’s been difficult to find and train SANE nurses–“We haven’t been successful in contracting with all of those that were available,” he said—but that the advocacy center is working toward just that and more, because it’s also providing advocacy, education, community awareness, and other such outreach programs.

Nurses who worked under Suzy Williams, like Marge Underwood—the nurse who provided the exam to the Flagler Beach rape victim—say the system was never broken when the advocacy center decided to break it.

“We have all tried to stay out of the politics and games as the victims are our only concern and priority,” Underwood said. “Needless to say that has not helped to improve our cause nor has it brought to light the broken system you now see being played out here. Multiply this scenario times our four counties in jeopardy, times the entire country. It is not a pretty picture. We have been maligned and cast out long enough and the victims have been treated as second class citizens and low priority concerns long enough.”

She added: “I applaud Liz Williams for her outrage, I wish we all had that kind of courage. Think, for a minute. We all have friends, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, children, mothers, fathers, and relatives who are at risk in this society. If we as a society can’t care on a human level, who will? This is not a political, racial, ethnic, gender or someone else’s problem. It is a human problem and you or yours could be the next victim in this predicament. How long do we stay silent and let the corporations and politicians continue to deprive us of our right to be safe, secure and human to each other?”

A final irony: Flagler Beach City Manager Bruce Campbell had considered firing Detective Williams, as a cost-saving measure—not because of work performance—only a few weeks ago, and had conversations with Sheriff Manfre about it: the sheriff’s office would have provided detective services instead. Had Williams not been on the job that morning, her victim would have ended up in Seminole County.

Campbell on Thursday said he’d shelved that idea. He cited Williams’s investigation of the alleged rape case as one reason, though the decision not to end Williams’s job predated the case.

 

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35 Responses for Rape Crisis Failure:
How the Children’s Advocacy Center Betrayed a Victim at Her Most Vulnerable”

  1. Magnolia says:

    Thanks for your story on this, FlaglerLive. It’s is clear that few care about this case.

    “How long do we stay silent and let the corporations and politicians continue to deprive us of our right to be safe, secure and human to each other?”

    Chilling words when we are about to turn our very lives over to them.

  2. KD says:

    These same issues with obtaining SANE nurses are occurring in Volusia county as well.

  3. Kip Durocher says:

    The following individuals of The Children’s Advocacy Center ~ The Board of Directors, the Managing Director and the supervisor on duty that evening ~ all should be charged with accessory after the fact of sexual assault and obstruction of justice.
    Every penny of public money should be cut off immediately and legal remedies to recoup all previous monies paid should be undertaken.

    Excellent reporting and research by Flagler Live.
    Excellent work by Detective Liz Williams.

  4. Kendall says:

    So what can be done to prevent this from happening to the next victim? Can we cancel our contract with the inept agency in Volusia and sign on with the Betty Griffin house to provide these services permanently?

    • R Gross says:

      Kendall, just doing some research about this whole debacle. The answer is simple this article has clearly and in numerous ways, that when the system was being run by Susan Williams and her team of highly trained, compassionate and skilled nurses, that this never happened. There was always a nurse available and the victim was always taken to a facility designed for their privacy, comfort and security. In these facilities victim advocates and forensic nurses provide the care to these victims they deserve. A 4 million dollar budget, with a total cost to these centers of less than $400,000.00 but yet they needed to cut costs. It would appear that the only concern was financial, certainly not the victims.

      The answer is clear, bring back the organization that proved itself to provide exactly what it said it would, exactly what the victims deserve and one that provided these services at an extremely low cost. If I were that victim, I would have sued the organization blind.

  5. A.S.F. says:

    There should be an immediate and public investigation into this matter, no and, ifs, buts or further delays. A complaint should be filed, both by the victim and sheriff’s office, with the appropriate licensing agencies for the advocacy center, both state and federal. If the agency is not being managed properly, they should be put into receivership but that is a process that should be started NOW, if necessary. A civil lawsuit might be considered by current AND previous victims harmed by this agency’s incompetence and insensitivity. God know what long-term effects this could have for victims. God knows knows what kind of job they may be doing for the children supposedly in their care! Children are, too often, the most silent victims when agencies like this drop the ball. With such “services”, how can any of these rape/ sexual assault cases be prosecuted successfully ? I can’t imagine how any evidence gathered by such a poor excuse for an agency could possibly hold up in court. Don’t let us get a reputation for being a possible haven for sexual predators and gang bangers who might think that such a sorry state of affairs might possibly let them get away with anything they might feel like doing! It’s disgusting (Where is Dateline when you need them?)!

    • RN SANE says:

      It is strange that no other news entity has been willing to acknowledge this whole episode and they politely declined to look into the CAC and their practices when they were told about this whole thing.
      I begin to wonder who sits in their pockets to be so shy about reporting NEWS ? Why do they call themselves news reporters?
      Tell your news services this is unacceptable and call your political reps to ask why there is no oversight of non profit fund use in this state?

  6. jespo says:

    Yeah…but check out them flowers on Belle Terre eh? Those are some nice flowers. And the golf courses, don’t let me get started on them nice golf courses, I mean, the tourists come in droves for those courses. We don’t need to take care of our citizens, nope. We need more flowers. Can’t wait till we get some on Old Kings next….

  7. confidential says:

    What a shame what a disservice to a victim and taxpayer, that pays up front for it. Four millions swallowed by the red tape and administrative fraud and high VIP compensations I bet!. Do away with it! And Flagler County Commission needs to pay those 50,000 a year for an on call nurse and just one small location with about $850 rent a month (know one office rented next to a lawyers practice in the center of Palm Coast for those $850/month, 1023 sq ft reception two offices, two bath and kitchenette), within Flagler and demand the state to investigate and dismantle that Volusia inept Children Non Advocacy and instead contribute some of the 4 million to one located in Flagler County and hire Nurse Williams on call.
    After only 14,000 a year in rent, utilities and insurance, is plenty left of the 50,000 to pay Sane trained nurses on call for our Flagler law enforcement investigators when needed. Besides the location mentioned above, has the lawyer office next door to take over the case if the victim needs it!
    C’mon BOCC does not take a rocket scientist to see that we are being fleeced by the current so called Children Advocacy entity in Volusia. Stop our funding to them and with the 50 grand set up our own.
    Great investigation Flagler Live…can you also find out how much Reggie Williams and his assistants get paid out of the 4 million and in what they spend the rest of the funds….just wondering.

  8. SG says:

    This story is heart-wrenching. Obviously this matter needs to be resolved quickly and a plan needs to be implemented to ensure this NEVER happens again. Shame on this system!
    It is devastating enough to be a victim of rape but then to be a victim again as you are reaching out to a “safe place”….. Its completely unacceptable. I am heartbroken for this person and all the others that it has happened to before this story broke.

  9. DE says:

    Putnam was having similar problems with Flagler/Volusia CPT. After a long birthing process, UF Jax CPT accepted us for Child Sexual Assault services and we are doing very well with our own Adult Sexual Assault Program.Putnam has an active Sexual Assault Response Team consisting of Putnam County Health Department Victim Services, CPT, Putnam Community Hospital, Lee Conlee House Victim Advocates, Waypoint SANE services, Palatka Police and Putnam Sheriff Victim Advocates and Sexual Assault Investigators with Palatka PD and PCSO and Department of Children and Families.

  10. Diego Miller says:

    Man up Reggie! Profits over people again. Thanks Detective Williams. Above and beyond the call of duty. Bravo!

  11. Mary Ellen Ottman says:

    Good job, \, Flagler Live for bringing this situation to our attention. Please keep on top of this incredibly important problem for us. So the Advocacy Center thinks that all women who are raped need to “sober up” before they are helped? How disgusting!

  12. BeachLvr84 says:

    Betty Griffin House is a wonderful, wonderful organization and I so wish that we could partner with them and get away from these money grubbers. I agree with pushing forward to find out exactly how many times we haven’t been able to count on CAF and use that as a way to get out of any contract we have. The whole story is just appalling.

  13. Hope says:

    It is absurd the abuse this poor girl had to go through besides her horrific attack. I am so disappointed that my county is not providing the services guaranteed to them in situations such as this. I feel much less secure walking the streets than I did before reading this article. In the case that something does happen to me, I know that I can’t count on the CAC to do anything to help me.

    Thank god for people like Detective Williams who actually take the time to care. I continue to see her name come up in stories on FlaglerLive and I am so pleased to see someone taking some action; how is it possible for everyone to have swept this under the rug? It obviously isn’t just a job for her and I am glad that she is finally standing up for what is right. Even though it seems she is standing alone. I hope that others will join her and say “enough.” She stood up for the victim and proved that there are some honest and trustworthy people left in law enforcement. I agree….Liz you are my hero. If I ever need a helping hand I’ll know who to call.

  14. I/M/O says:

    Obviously they need a change of leadership at Children’s Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach.

    ““Gina advised that she had been unable to reach the on-call SANE nurse or the back-up nurse,”

    Both should have been fired immediately. Obviously they simply ignored the phone calls at 3AM being fully aware they were about to be directed to respond to the rape victim. In the age of cell phones it is so easy to make the excuse you did not bring the phone to your bedroom or it’s ring tone didn’t wake you up.

    They don’t have the addresses of their Nurses on Call at their immediate fingertips? Are they kidding. They are supposed to be supervising this operation. In this day and age the police can’t determine an address from the phone number a Nurse has given? Sure they can.

    The Children’s Advocacy Center in Daytona Beach Director and the local police and Sheriff need to get together and set up a policy that when these Nurses don’t answer their phones a police car on patrol will be sent to their residences to knock on their door until they wake up. Nothing like the police documenting that “Notification Has Been Made.”

    As to “Gina Pinner stating that this happens occasionally and that it would give the victim a chance to ‘sober up.’”

    She should be fired immediately. She does not possess the professionalism to be running this rape outreach program. Who cares if a rape victim is intoxicated or not. Who is Gina Pinner to be blaming the victim!

  15. elaygee says:

    Sadly, this problem is only one of many at the CAS. An extensive and thorough investigation by State agencies and other principle funders like the United Way is overdue.

  16. Douglas M. Monsoor says:

    I am a retired, after 42 years in Law Enforcement, Criminalist. I have had extensive experience with SANE personnel during my career, inclusive of helping to train them in the necessary techniques that must be employed to gather evidence. I am also well acquainted with Marge Underwood, as well as several other SANE nurses. The devastating result of the Advocacy Centers actions is inexcuseable. The State’s Attorney’s Office, Law Enforcement Agencies, Legislators and the courts should be outraged at the lack of immediate professional assistance in sexual assault matters. This situation must be resolved in favor of the poor victims, as well as successful and professional law enforcement ,immediately. The forensic evidence lost with delay is innexcuseable, and extremely deleterious to effective law enforcement and succesful prosecution.

  17. Christine says:

    There are always two sides to every story, and this article seems like its sole purpose is to create more drama and make the advocacy center look bad. If it was a legitimate news article, the writer would report the facts instead of sensationalizing every detail. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was written in support of the nurse agency whose contract was terminated. It is evident that the reporter is upset that the advocacy center is providing nurses instead of paying the other company $24,000 to provide nurses. Just my observation. Maybe flaglerLive should do a report on all the rape cases that were successfully handled instead of focusing on the one that had a problem with coordinating care.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Christine, we could also devote a story a day, 365 days a year, telling you the sun rose and set at its proper time. We think there are more relevant matters to report on. People doing their job isn’t a story. People not doing the job they’re paid to do, at public expense, is. Especially when they’re compounding human beings’ trauma. If all you got from the story above was advocacy for the previous nursing arrangement–people who did do their job, incidentally–you missed out on roughly 3,500 words about where the sun did not shine that day.

    • A.S.F. says:

      Chrisitne–Actually, it sounds like the reporter (as well as everyone else besides you who read this article) is upset that the advocacy center is NOT providing nurses. That IS the point of the story. Christine, do you (or someone connected with you) happen to work for the advocacy center? It has already been noted that this is NOT the first time this agency has fallen through with providing the services that they have been contracted to provide. If it was you, or someone you cared for, who suffered as a result of their incomptence, you might not feel so forgiving or magnaminous towards them

    • R Gross says:

      Christine, I would hope that you understand that you may be that one case that goes terribly wrong, and so that you are aware this is not a one time event.

      So your implying that the State Attorney’s office, the local detectives and even Reggie Williams who admitted horrible failures are all conspiring to fight on behalf of the contractor who lost the contract.

      You really think that $24,000.00 a year for a highly skilled and trained healthcare professional is worth a conspiracy? As a healthcare professional, a highly trained and skilled healthcare professional I can personally say that these individuals do it from their heart. Not for the money, but to truly care and advocate for these victims.

      No one needs to create drama to make the Advocacy center look bad, they do that very well all by themselves. I can see where this article may have looked one sided, but in fact if you were that victim..IT WAS !!!!! made to sit for hours and hours, professionals suggesting that she was intoxicated, and that this has any bearing on the facts.

      If not for the absolute dedication of Liz Williams the detective, who went above and beyond to continue to fight and advocate for this victim, she may not have received any appropriate care. Ironically the care that detective Williams was able to secure for this victim was provided for through the Betty Griffin House by nurses trained and coordinated by that contractor that was dismissed by Reggie Williams and the Advocacy Board.

      I hope that you or someone you know or love ever has to suffer in the way that this victim had to. We as a society need to be advocates for humanity, the politics, the ignorance and greed have no place in advocating for vicitms.

  18. Brainard Hines Phd says:

    if this is the way the CAC treats adult rape victims, what happens to the sexually abused childrenthat pass through their doors? Services to them constitute the majority of the CAC’s funding. I think the truth is just beginning to come out. The Emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes at all.

  19. Lee says:

    Typical Daytona Beach laziness, incompetence and cronyism. Why is an agency tasked with investigating sexual abuse on children responsible for collecting evidence in rape cases, anyway? Oh, right, because the Rape Crisis Center was disbanded after its former scumbag director swindled funds in 2004. As I said, typical Daytona Beach…….

  20. donna kendall says:

    Why not cancel the contract, put the money in to training a nurse at our own hospital and have her on call when needed for any abuse or rape attack. Would save the county money and spare the person involed the pain of waiting for assistance.

    • R Gross says:

      Donna, the last place a victim should go, unless absolutely necessary for medical reasons is the ER, with the general public, families, every type, and issues walking around with them. The fact is that the system was working…greed and ignorance gained control and these are the results. If it isn’t broke, do not fix it….Bring back the system that worked…that is the only answer…why spend tens of thousands of dollars to train and replace highly skilled, highly experienced and highly trained professionals, with less experienced, less skilled individuals and take victims into the last place they should or want to be.

      If it was your sister, would you want her to be taken to the ER, made to sit and wait with the general population, only to be seen by a newly trained nurse who may or may not be fully competent in the collection of evidence.

      Or would you prefer she be taken to a private facility/or entrance into a private area of a hospital to an examining facility where she would be met by a highly trained victims advocate , SANE Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and provided with the services and treatment she deserves at this horrible time in her life.

      Do you have one doubt that the experience of the nurse who collected the evidence would not be questioned by a defense attorney at trial. The nurses who were already under contract were highly skilled and considered expert witnesses at trial and their experience was never a cause for a case being dismissed.

      The facilities provided a very private subdued environment more like a private office exam room…art on the walls, plants etc…donated clothing was provided to the victim when their clothes were taken as evidence. These victims did’t have to leave in a hospital gown or scrubs donated by the hospital.

      I hope that you can see that there is a place for these facilities, nurses and the services that they provide as stated in the article the nurse were paid for by the State Attorneys office producing a $200.00 profit for the Center for each assault. The actions taken were to cut costs….wait I mean increase profit…greed greed greed…who cares about the victims???? WE ALL SHOULD!!!!

  21. John Boy says:

    How is that Republican / Tea Bagger “Out Sourcing” working for you?

  22. confidential says:

    And Flagler County BOCC has been sending $50,000/year to these Volusia County fraudulent organizations? http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2005/010705/5D03-2658.op.pdf.
    Same happened here with the director of the Family Life Center years ago. If our hard earned taxes are sustaining these entities can we have a better scope of their financial’s along with a close monitoring of the services we get in return for our funding? Lets stop the fleecing.

  23. Incompetence of this magnitude is inexcusable. Incompetence, ignorance, lack of proper financial expertise, and general heartlessness seems to be pervading every area of our woe-begone society. I do hope every aspect of this case is thoroughly investigated and rectified.

  24. tulip says:

    I agree with Donna Kendall. Let’s have our OWN nurse or even a couple of them so they can rotate schedules, and keep it exclusively for Flagler County. The 50k we pay to the advocacy service certainly is a waste, and would go a long way to supporting our own service.

  25. Pitbull Lover says:

    I still cant believe people think he’s innocent too

  26. Anon says:

    Hoping to see FL do a follow-up on this incident, otherwise we’ll never hear about this again.

  27. Gert Ruda says:

    The lack of services and the difficulty in obtaining services through the CAC has been a crime in itself. The politics and personality issues between the CAC CEO Reggie Williams, The Board of Directors, the former CEO Maryann Barry, the current staff and the former SANE Program Director Suzy Williams has been a nightmare. Ms. Williams is certified in adult and pediatric forensic evidence collection. She brought in a dedicated and professional army of SANE nurses who responded day or night. It is so sad for victims in Volusia and Flagler Counties that Ms. Williams and her staff have been raped by the CAC. An investigation above and beyond FlaglerLive needs to take place. RJ Larizza are you listening? Also I hope the Florida Council against Sexual Violence is informed of this and pulls the CAC’s funding. That is all Reggie Williams is concerned about.

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