Fayette County

Head of rape crisis center leaves, interim named

The head of a non-profit organization that provides rape crisis counseling to 17 counties abruptly left her position Tuesday.

Rhonda Henry, who has worked at the Bluegrass Rape Counseling Center since at least 2000 and was most recently executive director, is no longer with the agency, said center board member Elizabeth Bagby.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Bagby said she could not comment further because the circumstances surrounding Henry's departure are a private, personnel matter.

Also, she would not comment as to whether there would be any further investigations or actions adding only, "we appreciate her service."

There will be no effect on the services provided by the center, which has a $1.1 million budget funded through private donations and government grants, Bagby said.

David Kitchen, director of brand strategy for the United Way of the Bluegrass, said his organization gave the center $71,000 last year. Funding for the next fiscal year will be decided next month.

Funding decisions are made on the merits of the services of an organization, not the leadership, he added.

Stephanie Humes, the center's assistant director, will serve as interim director, Bagby said.

Henry could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A message left for her by the Herald-Leader at the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, where she is president of the professional organization for rape crisis advocates, was not returned.

Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, said the city has funded the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center as one of its partner agencies since at least 1992. Recent fiscal-year allocations are $75,000 in 2010; $69,380 in 2011; and $62,440 proposed for 2012.

"We are not aware of the circumstances" of Henry's departure, Straub said.