MAN: In June of 2015, we received a report from Colorado State Patrol, reference a possible sexual assault on a child. I was able to set up some Safe Passage interviews with the two victims. Based on the disclosure that we received from those victims, we were able to get arrest warrants for the suspect.
MEGHAN LECHNER, DIRECTOR, THE COLORADO SANE/SAFE PROGRAM: We do a…at least a monthly case review, and that is a multidisciplinary case review, so it's typically medical, it's law enforcement, it's the DA's office, it's Child Protective Services, and really anybody who's been involved in that case.
JENNIFER VIEHMAN, SENIOR DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, EL PASO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE: In terms of the multidisciplinary approach, I think why it's so beneficial is that it's more of a holistic approach, cause you look at every case in terms of all of these pieces coming together.
SHERONDA JORDAN, FORMER FORENSIC EXAMINER COORDINATOR, SOUTHERN ARIZONA CENTER AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: You have to have conversations; you have to know about the needs, some of the trends that are occurring in the community; and you have to be able to work together.
JOHN KOCH, DETECTIVE SERGEANT, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: You lose a lot when you don't sit down at a table with everybody in the room willing to talk to each other and to approach each investigation from, what can we do better? What did we learn here? How do we best serve this victim?
MAN: There was also a third child in the home. I believe she was about 3 years old. Mark and I are positive that she was probably a victim as well and just couldn't communicate that to us.
MEGHAN LECHNER: Both victim one and victim two had medical forensic exams.
SAMANTHA LEMBERGS, DETECTIVE, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Did you have a SANE exam done on the 3-year-old?
WOMAN: No, I don't think so. We don't have any record of that.
SAMANTHA LEMBERGS: Would it have been beneficial to have that 3-year-old medically examined just to ensure her medical well-being as well?
MEGHAN LECHNER: Yeah, I think that's a great idea. When Detective Lembergs brought up the fact that the youngest child didn't have a medical forensic exam, because she's not able to verbalize or disclose, I think that's really important that we look at them from a medical aspect. We don't know if something may have happened, and that exam may start them on that road to recovery as well.
TAMMY GUGLIOTTA, DETECTIVE SERGEANT, EL PASO COUNTY CHERIFF’S OFFICE SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: When I started in the Special Victims Unit, I didn't know any of the SANE nurses. We had no communication with them. We didn't have the multidisciplinary team to the level that we've created it today. That's all changed, and I think it's changed because of that face-to-face contact at these meetings.
JOHN KOCH: If a victim goes to a hospital to report that they've been sexually assaulted or abused, a lot of times the first person that they will come into contact with in this process is a nurse. And that nurse sets the tone for what the victim may experience through the rest of the investigation. And that's why our relationship with them is so close and so important in successfully investigating these incidents.
JENNIFER VIEHMAN: I'm an attorney; I may not be looking at that case from their perspective. So it's really beneficial in terms of how I may want to present that case in a court room, but also maybe how I should be approaching that for what's best for that victim.
SUSAN CHASSON, STATEWIDE COORDINATOR, UTAH COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: If we work together and if we care for that patient together, we have much better outcomes. So if I work well with law enforcement, the patient perceives that I trust law enforcement, they are much more willing to trust law enforcement and work with them also.
MAN: She came out to Jason and I and said, “I wasn't sure how to take you guys when this all started. Now I'm really appreciative of what you've done. But I didn't know if we could really trust you at the beginning,” so...
JENNIFER PIERCE-WEEKS, INTERIM CEO, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORENSIC NURSES: Each of us has a different role to play in responding to sexual violence in the community. The community-based Crisis Center is going to be really the only ongoing available service that focuses on the needs of that victim and the services they need moving forward.
BRANDY LOCKHART, VICTIM ADVOCATE, TESSA: From my perspective, I think the most important thing that an advocate provides to a survivor is support, so that everybody is making sure that that patient is comfortable and not being re-traumatized by the process. When we are really working collaboratively, that level of understanding and communication is so paramount to getting those cases prosecuted and the healing of that victim.
Man: At the sentencing, she read a letter from the oldest victim that she wrote with the help of her therapist. She made mention about how involved in the therapy process they'd been and how beneficial that's been to their family.
TAMMY RICKETTS, FAMILY ADVOCACY PROGRAM SUPERVISOR, U.S. ARMY FORT CARSON: There's an old saying, “It takes a village…,” and all the heads collaborating together to come at the best possible options for our families and the community.
KIM NASH, SANE TRAINER, CO STATE SANE/SAFE PROJECT: I think that the work that you put into these multidisciplinary teams pays off because your investigations are more successful, your prosecution of violent crimes is more successful. But at the end of the day, even if there's not a successful prosecution, the healing, and the perception of your patient that this team cared about me, and fought for me, and believed me—they're gonna have better outcomes, therapeutically.