Thursday, March 23, 2023

Denton County establishes sexual assault response team

Last week, the Denton County Commissioners Court established an Adult Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) to assist victims of sexual assault.

Senate Bill 476, authored by State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), was recently passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, requiring such teams in each county and outlining the duties and responsibilities of them, according to a news release.

While prosecutors, law enforcement officers, sexual assault programs, and other responders outlined within the bill are already individually mandated to respond to adult victims of sexual assault in Texas, “this law requires that all parties begin the process of working more closely together to maximize resources, reduce trauma, and ensure compliance with crime victims’ rights.”

The following is the list of members of the Denton County SART team as appointed by Denton County Judge Andy Eads in compliance with the mandates of SB 476: Lori Nelson, Director of Community Engagement; Daysia Pinke, Survivor Advocate Team Coordinator; Assistant District Attorney Michael Dickens; Denton County Sheriff Captain Ed Barrett; Denton PD Sgt. Trent Jones; nurses Sonia Sims and Cindy Burnette; mental health provider Brittany Waymack.

The SART team must create a countywide protocol by December 2022 and report every odd numbered year to the Commissioner’s Court the number of sexual assaults reported to law enforcement, the number of sexual assault reports investigated by law enforcement and filed with the District Attorney’s Office, and the number of cases accepted for prosecution and their disposition by the District Attorney.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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