Finding Our Voices

Bringing victim voices to district attorneys

Maine's criminal justice system fails to keep them and public safe  
Fri, 05/03/2024 - 10:45am
Domestic abuse survivors with Finding Our Voices (FOV) shared how Maine’s criminal justice system is emboldening their perpetrators, and endangering them and the general public in a two-a-half-hour discussion with two district attorneys in Augusta on April 19. 
 
Kennebec and Somerset DA Maeghan Maloney and Cumberland DA Jackie Sartoris stepped up to meet with members of the statewide, grassroots and survivor-powered group after Finding Our Voices CEO and founder Patrisha McLean expressed outrage on social media over Maine’s continued puffball sentencing for violent domestic abusers. 
 
McLean said, “Our meeting was two days after a repeat domestic violence offender, William M. Dolley of Winslow, caused his second police standoff and nine days after a 19-year-old mother from Lewiston, Emali Sallee, was killed in yet another domestic violence murder-suicide.  I am grateful to these forward-thinking Maine district attorneys for listening to victims— the real experts on domestic violence— on how being silenced and disregarded in Maine’s criminal courts is risking the lives of every person in this state, including police.”  
 
Joining McLean from Finding Our Voices in DA Maloney’s Augusta office were Jolene Miles from Androsscoggin County, Bethany (who prefers to not publicly reveal her last name) from Oxford County, and Jeannine Lauber Oren from Casco. Miles’s ex led police on a high speed car chase and was granted a plea deal that dismissed a felony charge of domestic violence assault with priors. Bethany’s ex has been granted dismissals from judges and prosecutors for 19 violations of Protection From Abuse orders and conditions of release, and violated another Protection From Abuse order just two weeks ago.   
 
Oren, a former WMTW Channel 8 news anchor and one of 45 survivors with their photo portraits and quotes on the Finding Our Voices statewide, groundbreaking poster campaign, is responsible for a current Maine law that makes financial abuse part of the definition of domestic abuse. She said, “It is beyond time for a change, and bringing survivor voices to the table with top criminal justice officials like DAs Maeghan Maloney and Jackie Sartoris is key to figuring out a better way forward.” 
 
Bethany is the guest on McLean’s radio show WERU-FM radio show “Let’s Talk About It” that is conversations with survivors of domestic abuse https://archives.weru.org/lets-talk-about-it/2024/04/lets-talk-about-it-4-12-24/. She said her goal in publicly sharing her story is "a better system of support for domestic violence victims, and ensuring that victims are heard throughout the entire judicial process and seen as more than a docket number." 
 
Miles said, "I am thankful to have found my voice, and to now be healed to the degree that I can share it to help others.” 
 
Finding Our Voices is survivors boldly breaking the silence of domestic abuse one conversation and community at a time across Maine, plus providing a hand-up to victims that includes financial assistance, the pro bono dental care program Finding Our Smiles, and a weekly online support group.