Sheerine Alemzadeh, Staff Attorney

Sheerine joined CAASE as a Skadden Fellow in 2011. She 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 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).  

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Karen Beilstein, Operations Manager                    

Karen joined CAASE in 2010 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.

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Christine Evans, Legal Director                         

Christine Evans joined CAASE in 2014 as Legal Director. She has been working in the areas of public interest and human rights law for over ten years, with a focus on women’s rights and child protection. Christine manages CAASE’s representation of individual survivors of sexual assault and exploitation through civil litigation and within the context of the criminal justice system.

Before joining CAASE in 2014, Christine most recently worked as a visiting clinical professor at Northwestern University School of Law, where she led the writing and filing of the first-ever amicus brief on the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act, in support of CAASE’s inaugural petition under the law. She has also served as legal counsel for human rights organization International Justice Mission in Chennai, India and Lusaka, Zambia; child’s attorney with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian; and youth protection supervisor for Rotary International. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science in Print Journalism from Boston University and a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in International Human Rights from Northwestern University School of Law.

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Katie Gaughan, Staff Attorney   

Katie joined CAASE in 2013. She received her J.D. from the John Marshall Law School. Katie represents survivors of rape and sexual assault in civil proceedings under the Civil No Contact Order Act and the Stalking No Contact Order Act. She conducts criminal advocacy, represents survivors during university disciplinary proceedings, and represents survivors under the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act. She also represents survivors of sex trafficking in vacating convictions hearings under the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act.

Before coming to CAASE, Katie was a policy and legal fellow at Polaris Project in Washington, D.C., where she drafted anti-human trafficking legislation for several states. She completed a 40-hour training to become a sexual assault advocate for a rape crisis hotline. Katie has represented survivors of domestic violence during order of protection proceedings at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. 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. Prior to law school, Katie worked at the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis. 

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Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director

Kaethe first joined CAASE in 2009 as Deputy and Legal Director and now serves as Executive Director. She 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.

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Lynne Johnson, Policy Director

Lynne joined CAASE in 2009 as a Policy Director. She 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. As CAASE's Policy Director, Lynne 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.

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Rachel Johnson, Staff Attorney      

Rachel joined CAASE staff in 2014. Rachel represents survivors of sexual assault through criminal advocacy, education advocacy, employment law, and civil litigation. Rachel also represents survivors of sex trafficking through the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act, in which survivors of sex trafficking may vacate prostitution convictions. Rachel provides trainings and guidance to pro bono attorneys on how to work with, civilly litigate for, and protect the rights of survivors of sexual assault and trafficking.

Rachel graduated cum laude from DePaul University College of Law. Prior to law school, Rachel worked as the Asylum Project Pro Bono Coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center. During law school, Rachel was a student advocate in the Domestic Violence Courthouse Project, Death Penalty Defense Clinic, and the Asylum Law Clinic. Rachel was a legal intern at CAASE throughout law school and authored, “Criminalizing Victims: The Importance of Ending Felony Prostitution in Illinois.” (DePaul J. Women, Gender & L.).

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Leena Saleh, Communications Manager                    

Leena Saleh joined CAASE in 2014 as a Communications Manager. She had previously worked in communications at CAIR-Chicago, a local non-profit dedicated to protecting the civil liberties of Muslim Americans and dispelling stereotypes of Muslims through media production and press relations. Leena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from DePaul University. She has reported on topics ranging from culture and religion to international politics and entertainment.

As the Editor in Chief of UMMA Ink, a student-run magazine, Leena has enjoyed developing graphic design, layout and cultivating readership among her peers. As a freelance graphic designer, she has explored new ways of using visual communication like infographics and digital illustration. With a passion for critical communication, design, and storytelling, she hopes to advocate for an end to sex trafficking and debunk myths about prostitution and survivors of the sex trade.

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Caleb Probst, Educator                              

Caleb began working with CAASE in 2007, and in 2010 began facilitating CAASE’s new curriculum Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation. This is the nation’s first prevention curriculum to engage young men in dialogue about the sex trade and empower them to stand as allies against sexual exploitation and violence. To date, more than 1,600 young men in Chicago have completed the program, and that number is continuing to grow each week. In addition to his work in the classroom, Caleb has co-authored anti-trafficking curricula for the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and has presented at numerous conferences around the United States and Canada. He has also been educating the community at-large through theatre since 2008, when he began writing, directing, and producing plays that address the causes and consequences of commercial sexual exploitation, and facilitating post-show discussions.

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Veronica Svendsen, Project Administrator

Veronica joined CAASE in 2010 as the Project Administrator for the Sexual Assault Justice Project. She has worked as a paralegal for ten years. She previously worked at Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy, which assists victims of domestic violence in family law matters.Veronica works with our staff attorneys to help survivors of sexual harm seek justice in criminal and civil court.

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