Sheerine Alemzadeh, Staff Attorney
Sheerine seeks workplace justice for sexual assault survivors through a variety of laws, including Title VII, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, and the Illinois Victims of Economic Security and Safety Act. She has also represented survivors in U-visa cases, motions to vacate prostitution convictions, educational advocacy, Civil No Contact Order litigation, and advocacy in the criminal justice system. Sheerine co-leads a Chicago-based coalition of rape crisis advocates, labor organizers, attorneys, and government representatives to improve community responses to workplace sexual assault. She provides trainings to advocates, government agencies, students, and community-based organizations on sexual assault, sex trafficking, and labor rights.
Sheerine started at CAASE as a Skadden Fellow in 2011. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to law school, Sheerine worked for the legal department of Tahirih Justice Center. Sheerine has authored multiple law review articles on gender and labor law, including "Baring Inequality: Revisiting the Legalization Debate through the Lens of Strippers' Rights," (Mich. J. of Gender & the Law) and "Protecting the Margins: Intersectional Strategies to Protecting Gender Outlaws from Workplace Harassment" (N.Y.U. J. of Law & Social Change).
Contact Sheerine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Beilstein, Office Manager
Karen began her work with CAASE as a volunteer, coordinating the development of our Communities of Faith Toolkits and assisting the organization with many special projects. Currently as a staff member, she helps to coordinate CAASE's operations and works with fundraising and budgeting efforts.
Contact Karen at email@example.com
Rachel Durchslag, Founder
Rachel Durchslag began working in the social justice community in 2000. After receiving her BS from Skidmore College in 2000 with a double major in women’s studies and social work, Rachel moved to Chicago where she worked for Personal Political Action Committee, the Day Care Action Council of Illinois, and the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women. In 2005, Rachel earned her master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. In June of 2006, Rachel founded the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, an organization that works to eliminate sexual exploitation through litigation and advocacy, organizing and policy reform, and prevention and resource development. Rachel is a board member of the BREATHE Network. In her spare time Rachel is a fitness instructor with the Lakeview YMCA.
Rachel has won numerous awards for her work including: YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Promise Leadership Award; Young Nonprofit Professional Network's Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year; Soroptimist International Women Making A Difference; Chicago NOW Women Who Dare; Global Centurion Norma Hotaling Innovative Demand Reduction Award; Avodah Partners in Justice Award; Soroptimist Ruby Award; and the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Elizabeth Butler Award.
Katie Gaughan, Staff Attorney
Katie graduated from the John Marshall Law School in 2012. Before coming to CAASE, Katie was a policy and legal fellow at Polaris Project in Washington, D.C., where she worked on drafting anti-human trafficking legislation for several states. During law school, she interned at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and the People's Law Office. She served as President of the John Marshall chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Katie received her BA from the University of Minnesota, with a major in Professional Journalism and a minor in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies. Before law school, Katie worked at The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis.
Contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director
Kaethe Morris Hoffer represents individual survivors of sexual assault, including through prostitution, advocating for them through civil litigation and within the context of the criminal system. Kaethe has spent the last twenty years doing legal and political advocacy opposing sex inequality and sexual violence. She has advocated for individual survivors in state court, in federal court, in university disciplinary proceedings, and in numerous other venues. She has co-authored cutting edge civil rights laws for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and lobbied for progressive legislation on trafficking and prostitution in Springfield, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations.
Kaethe conducts trainings on civil legal remedies against sexual assault for rape and domestic violence service organizations, as well as for attorneys and legal organizations. She currently serves on the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Policy Advisory Committee, and previously was a member of the women’s policy advisory group for the Obama Campaign, the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois, and a policy advisor to Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Contact Kaethe at email@example.com
Lara Janson, Researcher
Lara Janson has worked on the issue of human trafficking in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. She conduced research for CAASE about the demand side of trafficking and the commercial sex industry. She analyzes online Johns Boards, where men trade information about the commercial sex industry throughout Illinois. Lara has contributed to a curriculum for educating boys and young men about modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Last spring, Lara also organized a Bandana Project event to raise awareness in Chicago about sexual violence against farm worker/immigrant women.
Contact Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynne Johnson, Policy and Advocacy Director
Lynne Johnson has been working in the violence against women movement for over 13 years. As an attorney in Maryland, Lynne represented battered women in Protective Order hearings and also worked in Baltimore City’s Juvenile Court system representing children in the foster care system. Since relocating to Chicago in 1999, Lynne managed domestic violence and rape crisis programs and has advocated for improved community responses to violence against women. Lynne holds her 40 Hour Crisis Intervention certifications in both domestic violence and sexual assault. Lynne is a trainer for the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline and the University of Chicago’s Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention program. Lynne joined Chicago Foundation for Women in 2005 as the Program Officer, and later served as its Director of Advocacy, working in areas of reproductive justice, violence against women, and women’s health. In July 2009, Lynne joined the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and serves as its Policy and Advocacy Director, where she leads the End Demand Illinois statewide campaign. Lynne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore’s School of Law. Lynne lives in Chicago with her beautiful son, Caleb.
Contact Lynne at email@example.com
Caleb Probst, Education Outreach Associate
Caleb first became involved with CAASE in 2007 while helping to research the behavior of men who buy sex (“johns”) in the Chicago area. He directed "Body and Sold" in 2008 - a play that told the stories of eight prostituted young people in America. In 2010, he wrote "The Strings Attached" and produced it and "The Johns" under the title "Private Lies: Two Plays about Prostitution and Johns." As CAASE's Education Outreach Associate, he is bringing our new curriculum to high schools and empowering young men to become allies in ending sexual exploitation and violence.
Contact Caleb at firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Svendsen, Project Administrator
Veronica has worked as a paralegal for eight years. She previously worked at Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy, which assists victims of domestic violence in family law matters. Veronica joined Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation in 2010 as the Project Administrator for the Sexual Assault Justice Project. She works with our staff attorneys to help survivors of sexual harm seek justice in criminal and civil court.
Contact Veronica at email@example.com