Board of Directors and Staff
President Michael Snedeker, Esq. is an attorney who has successfully overturned numerous wrongful sex abuse convictions and obtained money damages for several of his clients. He is co-author of the California State Prisoners Handbook, and, with former board member Debbie Nathan, Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt, as well as the novel Down in the Valley. He now works primarily on post-conviction challenges to death sentences in California and Oregon and provides assistance to Mexican nationals facing the death penalty in the U.S. via the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program.
Clerk-Treasurer Francis X. Kane is a retired accountant who spent over 30 years at GTE Sylvania. He became involved in false accusation issues in 1991, when an adult daughter was pressured by a therapist into “recovering” memories of being sexually abused as a baby. After leaving therapy the daughter retracted her accusation and appeared in the media with her father. Kane has worked as a volunteer with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation.
Emily Horowitz is the author of Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us (Praeger, 2015). She is an Associate Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice at St. Francis College (Brooklyn, NY), where she directs a program that helps the formerly incarcerated earn college degrees.
Roger Lancaster is an anthropologist and cultural studies scholar at George Mason University. His most recent of five books is Sex Panic and the Punitive State, which won the Association for Queer Anthropology’s Ruth Benedict Prize.
Judith Levine is an author and journalist whose work frequently explores the intersection of sex and justice. She has written four books, including Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and hundreds of articles and opinion pieces. In 2015 she received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship to write about sex offender policy and noncriminal responses to sexual violence.
Debbie Nathan is a journalist who received the Free Press Association’s H.L. Mencken award for her reporting of the daycare hysteria in The Village Voice and elsewhere. Nathan was the first journalist of national stature to write critically about the daycare cases. For this work, she also won the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism in 1991. She is co-author, with Mike Snedeker, of Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt, and author of Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple-Personality Case.
NCRJ’s first president, Dan Finneran (1931-2002) was a retired New York City public school teacher, attorney, and longtime champion of civil rights and social justice. He first got involved in legal work for people falsely convicted of child sex abuse after reading a 1988 Village Voice expose (by Director Debbie Nathan) of the Margaret Kelly Michaels Wee Care case in northern New Jersey. Michaels was accused and convicted during the 1980s “satanic ritual abuse” panic of bizarre acts of abuse against several preschoolers.
Finneran wrote the Village Voice an impassioned letter, offering to help with her appeal. The letter was forwarded to Nathan, who hooked him up with Mort Stavis, emeritus director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Stavis recruited Finneran onto a team of volunteer lawyers working on Michaels’ appeal. The brief of that successful effort has been cited in many subsequent appeals of sex abuse convictions. Dan later volunteered his services to the team that freed Violet Amirault and Cheryl Amirault LeFave. In spite of a cancer diagnosis in the mid-1990s, he continued to pursue justice for people falsely accused of child sexual abuse, including Gerald Amirault. When he was too ill to continue laywering, he befriended Bernard Baran and offered moral and financial support to his supporters. Finneran’s optimism, enthusiasm, and humor did not falter until his death in 2002. One of his final requests was to be buried with a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Executive Director Bob Chatelle is the founder of the National Center for Reason & Justice, which he incorporated in 2002. He is a semi-retired computer programmer, whose prior political experience had been as an anti-censorship activist for the National Writers Union (NWU) and the Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression. He became concerned about the problem of false accusations from discussions with NWU colleagues Judith Levine, Debbie Nathan, and Mark Pendergrast. With his partner, Jim D’Entremont, Chatelle founded the Bernard Baran Justice Committee. Bob also operates the Friends of Justice blog.