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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 09:47 pm

Not child’s play

Veteran cop takes over at advocacy center

It might seem odd to think of a retired cop working at a place decorated with kid-sized furniture and stuffed animals. But for Joe Goulet, who was a Springfield police officer for 27 years, the mission at his new job — as executive director of the Child Advocacy Center — isn’t all that different from his work as a cop.  Goulet spent more than a dozen years as the detective assigned to investigate sexual assaults. In the 1980s, that assignment landed him on a task force charged with creating the CAC. Now, as the new director of the center, Goulet’s job is to help the agency provide sexually abused children with a variety of services, ranging from the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases to therapeutic treatment. Goulet replaces Jonna Cooley, who was executive director from 1995 until last fall, when she resigned in the midst of an investigation into possible misappropriation of funds. Goulet says he can’t offer even a ballpark estimate on the missing funds, because CAC’s financial records have been turned over to investigators with the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office. No charges have been filed against Cooley. When Cooley left, about 40 people applied for the director’s job, including assistant director Christine Lindsay. Lindsay became interim director, but withdrew her name from consideration for the top spot. “She has stayed on as assistant director, and I’m very happy for that,” Goulet says. “She’s been a tremendous help.” Goulet was the unanimous choice of the CAC Advisory Board, though one board member — CAC founding director Betsy Goulet — was not involved in the hiring process. Betsy Goulet is Joe Goulet’s wife. They married in 1990, shortly after they had worked together to establish the CAC. When Joe was hired as executive director in April, Betsy resigned from the center’s advisory board. She now works as a consultant for the National Children’s Alliance, the organization that provides training and accreditation for agencies like Child Advocacy Center. “Betsy works for the Mother Ship,” Goulet says. Betsy Goulet will also serve as president of the board of directors for the Friends of the CAC board — a separate, nonprofit group charged with raising funds to augment CAC’s budget.
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