MEET THE TEAM

David LaBahn

DIRECTOR

Mr. David LaBahn is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), a national association representing elected and deputy or assistant prosecutors, and city attorneys. The association acts as a global forum for the exchange of ideas, allowing prosecutors to collaborate with all criminal justice partners, and conducts timely and effective training and technical assistance to improve the prosecutorial function. In addition, APA serves as an advocate for prosecutors on emerging issues related to the administration of justice, development of partnerships and implementation of problem-solving strategies.  

Beth Merachnik

DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Beth Merachnik serves as Deputy Director of the Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s (APA) Child Abuse Prosecution Project. Ms. Merachnik is the former Director of APA’s Smart Prosecution Project. She is a former prosecutor from Massachusetts having served for over twenty years in both the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Merachnik prosecuted a wide variety of cases during her career at the District Attorney’s office, including crimes of homicide, sexual assault and child abuse and held the position Director of the Middlesex Domestic Violence Unit for over four years. Ms. Merachnik served at the Office of the Attorney General, first as the Chief of the Community-Based Justice Bureau and then Senior Counsel and Trial Attorney in the Criminal Bureau. She can reached at beth.merachnik@apainc.org

Michael Valentine

SENIOR ATTORNEY 

Michael Valentine is a Senior Attorney with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ Child Abuse Prosecution Project. He was previously an Assistant County Attorney and the First Assistant County Attorney with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office in Manchester, NH. He supervised an office of fourteen attorneys while maintaining a trial caseload focused primarily on child sexual assaults and child pornography. In this capacity he worked extensively with local Child Advocacy Centers, over a dozen law enforcement agencies, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and multiple federal agencies in his own investigations as well as reviewing the work of his attorneys. As an Assistant County Attorney, Michael became the leading expert in New Hampshire on the civil commitment of Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) and remains the only prosecutor in NH to successfully try an SVP case. He has presented multiple times on strategies for prosecuting such cases at the NH Attorney General’s Child Abuse and Neglect. He also helped teach and prepare students in the FBI’s Computer Analysis and Response Team (CART) on how to testify as factual and expert witnesses in state and federal courts using practice direct and cross examinations in the FBI’s CART Moot Court trainings.

Ursula Donofrio

TRAINING DIRECTOR

The position of Training Director is held by Ursula Donofrio, who will be responsible for assisting the senior attorney staff in curriculum development and conference planning. As former Training Director for the California District Attorney’s Association, Ursula brings 25 years of experience to the Child Abuse Prosecution Project. Ursula can be reached at ursula.donofrio@apainc.org.

Aimee Peterson

PROGRAM ASSOCIATE

Aimee Peterson serves as the Child Abuse Prosecution Project Program Assistant. Aimee holds a B.A. from St. Johns University in Government and Politics and comes to the project from the Department of Homeland Security, where she worked as the Executive Assistant to the Director of Strategy, Policy and Budget division of Infrastructure Protection. Aimee also brings experience working in the non-profit sector previously holding positions at the National Sheriffs’ Association and the School Superintendents Association. Aimee can be reached at aimee.peterson@apainc.org.