Our Team

Our People

FIRE is a team of social workers, psychologists, forensic interviewers, therapists, researchers, attorneys and administrators. Their diverse perspectives and skills come together in a shared goal of connecting forensic interviewers to new research as efficiently as possible. The FIRE team trains professionals throughout the country and internationally by sharing this unique perspective. Our end goal is to expand their toolbox, so that victims have the best chance to talk about their experiences and begin the process of healing.

FIRE Team

Crimson Barocca

Crimson Barocca, LCSW-C, is the manager of Forensic Interview Research & Education at Center for Hope. She has been at Center for Hope for the last 14 years; however, she began her career 20 years ago at child protective services in Baltimore as a forensic interviewer, investigator, and supervisor. Crimson has conducted over 2300 forensic interviews and has provided training locally, nationally and internationally to interviewers, child protective services staff, law enforcement, legal, medical and mental health professionals.

Crimson provides training on basic and advanced forensic interviewing topics, working with multi-disciplinary teams, and dynamics of abuse in children. She led the development of the nationally recognized interview structure, Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT). Crimson manages interview training and ongoing curriculum development. Crimson was at the forefront of developing tele-forensic interview practice nationally and continues to research and present nationally on this topic. She currently provides peer review to Center for Hope’s forensic interview team and interviewers across Maryland and is routinely an expert consultant and witness on forensic interviewing and sexual abuse dynamics. Crimson received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and is a licensed clinical social worker.

Shannon Wood

Shannon Wood, LCSW-C, is the Forensic Interview Research & Education Operations Supervisor and Forensic Interviewer at Center for Hope, where she has been working since 2011. Shannon’s career began in 1995 as a clinical social worker working with child survivors of abuse and non-offending caregivers. This led her to recognize the difficulties faced by children as they move through the forensic interview process as well as the criminal justice system. She utilized her clinical skills and an abiding interest in linguistic development to assist children and make broad changes in the services they receive.

To that end, she began working as a forensic interviewer in 1998 at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. In 1999, she joined the Felony Family Violence Division at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, as a clinical social worker and forensic interview specialist. In addition to coordinating physical abuse investigations, she broadened the forensic interview program to include survivors and witnesses of sexual and physical abuse, child witnesses of homicide, domestic violence and arson, as well as other felonies. Shannon also prepared child witnesses for the challenging process of testifying in criminal court.

Shannon has been a field instructor and adjunct faculty member for the University of Maryland, School of Social Work, co-teaching Introduction to Forensic Social Work. She was a member of the Core Training Team of ChildFirst Maryland and is trained in numerous forensic interview protocols accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. Shannon continues to conduct forensic interviews and provides interview training and supervision locally, nationally and internationally.

Ashley Masis

Ashley Masis goes by Ash. She recently graduated from Notre Dame of Maryland University with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. She would like to pursue a master’s degree in social work in the near future. As a bilingual research coordinator, she onboarded and trained eight interns. She also delivered 100 research surveys with kids, teens and caregivers. Part of her role includes translating and interpreting for Spanish-speaking families as needed. In her time here she has spent over 92 hours transcribing/translating forensic interviews, 80 hours translating documents and 20 hours interpreting for forensic interviews and forensic medical exams as well as assisting with lab results calls.

Taja Keitt

Taja first started as a FIRE intern at Center for Hope in 2022 while completing requirements for a Bachelor of Science in psychology. After graduating cum laude from Morgan State University in May, Taja began her role as forensic interview education program coordinator. She has facilitated several FIT (Forensic Interview Training) training courses and continues to serve as a liaison with community and outside agencies. 

Our Faculty

Nicole Brim

Nicole Brim is a recent graduated from the University of Maryland, and a licensed social worker. She is a forensic interviewer and has been with Center for Hope for almost a year. Nicole has done over 50 interviews so far. She also works as a FIT educator and assists with trainings when needed. 

Reva Chopra

Reva Chopra is a prosecution-oriented attorney with approximately 20 years of criminal litigation experience as an assistant state’s attorney. she spent most of her career as an assistant state’s attorney for the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office before becoming chief of the Special Victim’s Unit for the Caroline County State’s Attorney’s Office. She transitioned to the role of an assistant chief counsel, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, United States Department of Homeland Security, before resuming her prosecutorial career in the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office where she has worked for over one year as deputy chief of the Body Worn Camera Unit. She has an especial passion for the rights of child exploitation, sexual assault and human trafficking victims and was recognized with a Project Safe Childhood Award from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland in 2018. She has been honored to have volunteered with the Center For Hope’s FIRE program, assisting with both FIT and Trial Skills Trainings, since its inception and looks forward to continuing to assist in any way possible. 

Leonard Croft

Currently at Center for Hope, Leonard Croft is the elder justice manager who oversees the Enhanced Multidisciplinary Project (E-MDT) that has created a multidisciplinary team made up of diverse professionals to discuss and consider cases of abuse of older adults in a manner that: mitigates harm and enhances safety and justice for older adults; identifies and assesses system gaps; and advocates for policy changes that increase access to prevention and intervention strategies for older adults in Baltimore. In addition, he is responsible for conducting needs assessments, engaging the community in partnership and implementing programming efforts around elder justice issues. 

Leonard has grown into a seasoned leader with 8+ years of supervisory and direct human service program management experience, along with 5+ years of providing case management services to diverse vulnerable populations. He has a passion for advocating for vulnerable populations which include older adults and during his tenure at Health Care for the Homeless he was the recipient of the 2016 Health Care for the Homeless Core Value Award for Justice. 

His past experience includes being a case manager at Health Care for the Homeless and elder rights program manager at the Maryland Department of Aging. Through his journey in working to support vulnerable populations throughout the community, Leonard has established a proven track record with work in preventing, educating and spreading awareness around elder abuse.

Leonard-Croft

Rob Daniels

Rob is a trial attorney who serves on the faculty for FIT training, regularly presenting the legal considerations lecture to program attendees and participating as defense counsel in the mock trial exercise. He also is a member of the Center for Hope Advisory Council.

Janee A. Fountain, Esq

Janee is a dedicated and passionate advocate, lecturer and public interest attorney. She is currently an assistant attorney general at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General and a member of the Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Janee investigated and prosecuted cases of physical and sexual abuse of children at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. She was previously a member of the BCAC Multidisciplinary Team and was a recipient of the Community Champion Award presented by Center for Hope.

Cathy Gonzalez

Cathy Gonzalez is a forensic interviewer for Montgomery County Child Welfare Services. She was previously a bilingual forensic interviewer at Center for Hope. She has done over 250 forensic interviews in both English and Spanish. During her time at Center for Hope, she provided leadership in forensic interview legal trainings and mock trials.

Akiva Katz

Akiva is a forensic interviewer who works at the intersection of social work and the legal system. He is passionate about implementing evidence-based tools in forensic interviewing and child advocacy for the benefit of children, families and public safety. He is an experienced researcher, having published on SAMHSA and NCA funded projects. His presentation experience before diverse audiences including statewide conferences in Virginia, front line child advocacy workers in Montana, the FBI, DOJ, The Asia Foundation, Office of the Attorney General of Thailand, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Mongolia and multiple cohorts of trainees in the Forensic Interview Toolbox (FIT) interviewing protocol.

Nicole Lytle

Nicole E. Lytle is an associate professor of social work and child advocacy at Montclair State University. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Toledo. Nicole’s research interests are in forensic developmental psychology and include examining interviewing techniques used with child witnesses. She teaches courses on forensic interviewing of children, developmental psychology and forensic psychology.

Anne Waller

Anne Waller, LCSW-C is the clinical supervisor of the Forensic Interview team at Center for Hope. Anne has been conducting forensic interviews at Center for Hope for about five years and has conducted over 630 interviews. In addition to conducting forensic interviews and providing clinical supervision, Anne provides training on forensic interviewing and related topics as a member of the FIT faculty. Prior to her time at the Center for Hope Anne was an intern at the Baltimore City’s State’s Attorney’s Office, Special Victims Unit. Anne received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland.

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