Rabbi Ze’ev Smason (President) is the spiritual leader of Nusach Hari B’nai Zion, one of the largest orthodox congregations in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been personally involved in protecting children from sexual abuse; in 2007, he reported to authorities a man in his synagogue who had been accused of child molestation, which resulted in the man’s arrest and conviction. Ze’ev is one of the founders of Our Precious Children, a nonprofit organization that assists Jewish survivors of child sexual abuse in the St. Louis area. He pursued his rabbinical studies in Jerusalem, where he received his ordination and lectured on Torah, philosophy, ethics, and current issues. Prior to serving as rabbi at Nusach Hari B’nai Zion, Ze’ev was associate director of Aish HaTorah Center of Jewish Studies of St. Louis.
Zainab Al-Suwaij is co-founder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress whose mission is to build interfaith and interethnic understanding and represent the diversity of American Muslim life. As an advocate for women’s equality, civil rights, and interfaith understanding, she left her teaching position at Yale University after the 911 terror attacks to launch AIC. Zainab was named an “Ambassador of Peace” by the Interreligious and International Peace Council, was recognized as the “International Person of the Year” by the National Liberty Museum, and received Dialogue on Diversity’s Liberty Award. She has briefed Congress and the White House on Muslim issues, has published editorials in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has appeared on NPR, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and other radio and television networks.
Bethany Brittain (Secretary) grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home and is a survivor of religious child maltreatment. As prescribed by church leaders, her parents used corporal punishment on Bethany and her three siblings starting in infancy, and frequent and severe beatings continued into their teen years. After having been home schooled in isolation and groomed to be a submissive wife, she left home in her late teens, obtained a college degree in instructional design, and transcended her abusive childhood. Today, Bethany creates training programs for corporations and specializes in adult learning.
Ann M. Haralambie, JD, CWLS, is a certified family law attorney and certified child welfare law specialist in private practice in Tucson, Arizona, where she specializes in custody and child abuse cases. She is the former president of the National Association of Counsel for Children and a charter life member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. Ann is the principle author and co-editor of Child Welfare Law and Practice, the author of Child Sexual Abuse in Civil Cases, The Child’s Attorney, and the three-volume, annually supplemented treatise, Handling Child Custody, Abuse, and Adoption Cases.
Rev. Sabrina Jennings is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. As a teenager, she felt called to church ministry but after coming out as queer and surviving emotional and spiritual abuse, she left the church she was raised in and sought other options. She received a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Texas State University in 2008. After being away from the church for a long time, Sabrina once again felt called to pursue work in Christian ministry. She graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in May 2014 with a Master of Divinity and was ordained in March of 2015. Having a heart for bridge building, Sabrina is working to protect GLBT youth in Christian communities.
Rev. Charles Foster Johnson is a Baptist minister and the founder and pastor of Bread, a non-traditional faith community in Fort Worth, Texas. Throughout his thirty-year pastoral ministry, he has served churches in Mississippi, Kentucky and Texas. Charles attended Mississippi College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he was a Rice-Judson Scholar. He was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Pontotoc, Mississippi in 1980. In 2004, the Baptist Center for Ethics named Charles “Baptist of the Year.” In 2008, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Moorehouse College. Charles preaches and speaks at universities, churches, and business organizations about numerous children’s issues, including education and safety.
Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias (Treasurer) is the senior pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Austin, Texas. He was incardinated into the American Catholic Church in March of 2012. A strong community advocate and champion for education, Jayme serves on the Board of Trustees of the Austin Independent School District, representing a district of 55,000 voters. As a young seminarian in 1995, Jayme was assigned to Austin’s Cristo Rey Catholic Church. Under Jayme’s pastorship, church attendance grew in such large numbers that it soon became the largest Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic faith community in Central Texas.
Nathan Mollohan understands how certain religious beliefs and ideologies can be damaging to children and is passionate about protecting them from religious abuse. He gains this insight from personal experience, as he was raised in a fundamentalist, Christian household and attended various religious schools from kindergarten through high school. In 2017, Nathan joined the board of directors of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end religious child maltreatment. He sees the opportunity to educate the public as a great way to drive for change and is excited to lend his knowledge and share his experiences to help improve the lives of children in harmful religious communities. Nathan lives in Cincinnati, where is a manager at a large health system, teaches business statistics at a local university, and serves on the board of a large continuing care retirement community. He has had an extensive career in retail and restaurant management, including owning a pizza restaurant. He is married with one fun and energetic nine-year-old boy.
Rev. Jaime Romo is a commissioned minister in the United Church of Christ for Healing and Healthy Environments in San Diego, a certified primordial sound meditation instructor with the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, and an active member of the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Diego. Following a career of teaching from K-12 through university teacher education, Jaime—who is a survivor of child sexual abuse—develops and implements safe policies and healing community practices for churches and trains parents, volunteers, and employees on abuse prevention. He is also the author of Healing the Sexually Abused Heart: A Workbook for Survivors, Thrivers, and Supporters, Parents Preventing Abuse, and Teachers Preventing Abuse.