After more than three decades, Kathy Walsh is out as leader of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. Her exit follows a federal investigation. (Photo: Tennessee Legislature)
The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence has a new, interim head, following the abrupt departure last month of its longtime leader.
Jennifer Escue joined the nonprofit two years ago, as director of programs. Before that, she spent nearly two decades with Catholic Charities of Tennessee, overseeing programs for refugees resettling to the state.
As interim executive director of the Coalition, Escue takes over from Kathy Walsh, who led the organization for nearly 40 years until December. The Coalition is the leading state advocacy and educational organization for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Walsh left just days after WPLN and the TN Lookout reportedthat federal investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) found she was involved in forcing out an employee, in 2019, who blew the whistle on potential misuse of grant funds.
The federal report was finalized in September, three years after the former employee, Veronica Quinonez, filed a complaint with DHHS and the Coalition’s Board of Directors. The Board conducted its own investigation in 2019, and found no misuse of grant funds or retaliation against Quinonez.
In 2017, state auditors had documented financial discrepancies and allegations of a toxic workplace at the Coalition.
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