Mesquite, TX – August 27, 2021 – On Aug. 27, the Mesquite Police Department debuted its new Soft Interview Room for victims of sexual assault and other violent crimes. The room featuring living-room style chairs, decorative lighting, a rug and artwork was sponsored by Project Beloved - The Molly Jane Mission. The non-profit was started by Tracy Matheson, the mother of Molly Jane Matheson who was sexually assaulted and murdered in the DFW area in 2017. MPD becomes just the 3rd city police department in DFW and this is the 32nd Soft Interview Room installed by Project Beloved.
Tracy Matheson, President/Founder of Project Beloved, said “We have transformed this room at the Mesquite Police Department into a warm and inviting space. This will help other sexual assault victims. We are determined Molly's story will be a catalyst for change. She would be proud of what we have done here.” Matheson elaborated that the make-over of each room costs about $3,500 and that the wall art is photography by Megan Getrum a DFW assault victim murdered a few days after her daughter.
Mesquite Police Department Criminal Investigator Blake Stillwagoner said, “This room will be part of the first steps in getting sexual assault victims the justice they deserve. A lot of these types of crimes go unreported. This room will be calming for victims and help put them at ease as they share their traumatic experience with our investigators.” Stillwagoner indicated that the soft interview rooms can also be used with alleged suspects to aid in getting critical information for the case.
Project Beloved – The Molly Jane Mission was launched in 2018 and strives to educate, advocate and collaborate to change the conversation about sexual assault and empower survivors to find their voice. In addition to transforming institution interview areas into soft interview rooms, the non-profit has helped get HB 3106: Molly Jane’s Law passed which mandates the use of ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) when law enforcement investigates a case of sexual assault. They have also created a scholarship at The University of Arkansas for those seeking a degree in social work and distributed nearly 8,000 Beloved Bundles. These draw string bundle bags contain necessary items to allow a sexual assault survivor to shower and have clothes to wear home after a forensic exam.
According to Project Beloved one in three women will be a survivor of sexual violence, only about 230 of every 1,000 rapes is reported to law enforcement and seven out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known by the survivor. Visit www.ProjectBeloved.org for more information.