Beshear Announces Incoming Members of AG’s Survivors Council

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Beshear Announces Incoming Members of AG’s Survivors Council
Members are survivors of homicide, incest, labor trafficking, human trafficking, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, child marriage, clergy abuse

 FRANKFORT, KY. (Feb. 6, 2019) Attorney General Andy Beshear today announced the 20 incoming members of his office’s Survivors Council who will advocate for victims rights the next two years throughout the Commonwealth and nation.

The council is made up of Kentuckians across the state who are survivors of homicide, incest, labor trafficking, human trafficking, campus sexual assault, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, child marriage and clergy abuse.

Beshear created the first-of-its-kind council in 2017 knowing government, especially when offering victims services, had to do better in helping survivors through their trauma.

“As I travel the state, I continue to hear from individuals and their families who have transformed their trauma and want to advocate for changes in policies and decisions that impacted them and other victims,” Beshear said. “The 20 incoming members each have unique stories and see their seat on the council as a way to ensure that what we do helps and uplifts those who have experienced trauma in Kentucky.” 

Incoming council members are from Bowling Green, Frankfort, Grayson, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Mount Eden.

Survivors Council member Kristina Smith, of Louisville, said her place on the council is a way to tell her story and work with fellow members to make a “true difference.”

“It is not every day that a little girl from a four-way-stop town in rural western Kentucky gets an opportunity to have her voice heard,” Smith said. “I am very honored and excited to stand alongside so many wonderful, courageous people as we work to ensure that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is a trauma-informed, client-centered unit that promotes health, prosperity and well-being for its people.”

Survivors Council member Hilary Sykes, of Lexington, said survivors need to know that they cannot be “blamed or shamed” for the crimes against them.

“The importance of this council is to continue to help revise the way we support our survivors in the state of Kentucky,” Sykes said “Every year we learn more on how to evolve so that we may encourage our community to become stronger.”  

Survivors Council member Anita Rowe-Franklin, of Lexington, said survivors have a powerful voice to “create conversation and initiate necessary changes for victims and survivors.”

“We each have an important story to tell about how violence changed our lives forever,” Rowe-Franklin said. “Losing a son to gun violence in 2014 caught in the crossfire of two groups of young men ages 15-17 is an example of the epidemic of gun violence occurring in our country. The Survivors Council is so important because it advocates from the victims and survivors viewpoint, which is impactful and with positive results. One day, I feel this council will be modeled across the United States, and I want to be part of that history.”

Survivors Council member Kathleen Niestadt, of Louisville said, “I’m honored for this opportunity to serve other survivors and to help give them a stronger voice. I hope to help fill in the gaps through what I have encountered so they can get the healing and help they need and desire.”

Members of the Survivors Council are:                   

  • Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi, of Louisville
  • Ann Bauers, of Grayson
  • Kimberly Bowen, of Lexington
  • Brandie Cobb, of Lexington
  • Summer Dickerson, of Louisville
  • Robin Garner, of Louisville
  • LaShana Harris, of Frankfort
  • Jennifer Hartzler, of Louisville
  • Marcia Johnson, of Bowling Green
  • Rohitkumar Virbhadraw Joshi, of Louisville
  • Deborah Lee, of Mount Eden
  • Kathleen Niedstadt, of Louisville
  • Cal Pfeiffer, of Louisville
  • Anita Rowe-Franklin, of Lexington
  • Jessie Schartung, of Owensboro
  • Avalon Sutherland, of Louisville
  • Kristina Smith, of Louisville
  • Hilary Sykes, of Lexington
  • Demetrius Watson, of Lexington
  • Ify Whitfill, of Louisville

The outgoing members of Beshear’s Survivors Council, who served 2017 and 2018, last week issued its final annual report, including the first-ever resource to help crime victims navigate the criminal and civil legal systems.

The Crime Victims Information Guide and the annual report are housed on the attorney general’s website –


Attorney General Beshear’s press releases are available on his official website at