Brian Adae, Esquire
Brian received his Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law, commencing the private practice of law in Washington State. Previously, following his undergraduate studies in liberal arts, he worked for the Rhode Island Department of Natural Resources. Returning to New England, Brian was a trial lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the State and Commonwealth Superior, District, Family and Probate Courts, as well as Federal District Court and federal First Circuit Court of Appeals. He had also worked with a public affairs group representing corporate interests with Rhode Island’s elected representatives in the U.S. Congress and Senate and before the state legislature.
Brian is a member and former Chair of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers (Confidential Assistance) Committee of the RI Bar Association, as well as a member of the Public Service Involvement Committee and the Ethics & Professionalism Committee. He serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Ocean State Bike Path Association and is a former board member of Rhode Island Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence. Brian is also a PSIA/AASI professionally certified Ski Instructor and Adaptive Snowboard Instructor volunteering with Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation as an advisor, clinician and trainer.
Brian’s life-long, deep passion for public service working with persons in need – particularly people with disabilities – led to his employment as an attorney with the Disability Rights Rhode Island more than fifteen years ago where he remains today.
Representative Payee Investigator
Ron is a retired Detective with the Johnston Police Department, retiring with 27 years of service. During his tenure there, he was assigned to several divisions including the BCI Division (Bureau of Criminal Identification) were he attended the University of RI and graduated with his Criminalistics I & II Certification for Crime Scene Forensics. From 2009 thru 2012, Ron was an investigator, assigned to the R.I. State Police Computer Crimes Unit, also known as the ICAC Unit, (Internet Crimes Against Children) which also included all Social Media related crimes including financial and fraud. While assigned to this unit, Ron obtained several computer and mobile forensic certifications. Ron was employed with the Smithfield Police Department where he held the title of Criminalist, responsible for Crime Scene Investigation, evidence processing and collection and was in charge of maintaining the mandated RI Sex Offender Registry.
Ron attended CCRI, Lincoln Campus majoring in Criminal Justice & Financial Crimes.
Kate Bowden, Esquire
Kate Bowden has been an attorney with Disability Rights Rhode Island since 2004. Previously she was an associate at the law firm of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten, LLP in Boston where she represented cities and towns. She served as law clerk and senior law clerk to the Massachusetts Superior Court and served as law clerk to the Superior Court Justices of Rhode Island. At DRRI, Kate has successfully represented clients on a variety of legal issues including Americans with Disabilities Act litigation in federal court, eligibility assessments before the Division of Developmental Disabilities, contested civil commitment, housing discrimination, guardianship proceedings, and administrative actions before the State Board of Elections regarding accessible voting equipment and voting rights.
Kate is the lead attorney for DRRI’s voting rights grant for which she spearheads systemic advocacy, outreach and training activities to ensure full participation in the electoral process for people with disabilities. Kate is passionate about assisting people with disabilities to know and exercise their voting rights. In her career, she has presented to municipal officials and election officials, disability advocates, and persons with disabilities and their family members on diverse topics including: guardianship and alternatives to guardianship, voting rights and procedures, legislative advocacy, employment discrimination and public records/open meeting statutes.
Director of Operations
Bruce is transplant to Rhode Island from New York but has lived in various locations throughout the United States. Through his experience working with local, county and state government as well as many non-profits, he looks to bring his experience to support the DRRI team in meeting their goals.
Bruce holds a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in International Business. As the Director of Operations, he is looking forward to using his expertise in administration and organizational development to help drive organizational goals and aid in DRRI’s mission of assisting their clients to achieve full inclusion in society.
Mark C. Hadden, Esquire
Mark C. Hadden has been a litigator since 1984, handling trials and appeals before the Superior and Supreme Courts of Rhode Island, as well as the United States District Court and the U. S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. His case experience has included medical malpractice, land use planning and zoning, municipal law, complex products liability, commercial and business litigation, toxic tort, wrongful death, insurance coverage and personal injury litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants.
Mark’s municipal law experience includes representation of the Towns of North Smithfield, Lincoln, and Exeter, including six years as counsel to the Exeter Planning Board; and, as special legal consultant, the towns of North Kingstown, South Kingston, Bristol, East Greenwich, West Greenwich, Tiverton, and Barrington. He was Town Solicitor for the Town of North Smithfield, R.I. for four years from 2005 to 2008.
Mark is a Rhode Island native and a graduate of Pilgrim H.S., Warwick, R.I.,1975, and thereafter graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1979 with a B.A. in philosophy and political science. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans in 1984, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board.
Most recently, Mark is honored to have joined DRRI as staff counsel in 2020 to advocate for and defend the disability rights of those who are DRRI’s heartfelt mission.
Mark’s erstwhile avocation is playing his soprano, alto and tenor saxophones.
Jacqueline S. Johnson
Jacquie is a native New Yorker who relocated to Rhode Island with her son in tow, to start a new chapter in their lives.
She applied and landed the position of Administrative Assistant at Rhode Island Disability Law Center in March 2002. Jacquie set out to not only land a job but to also complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Media in June 2010. Jacquie was promoted to Intake Specialist March of 2021.
Jacquie has many outside interests such as; self-development reading, Walking and Fitness videos.
She looks forward to the future and her work at Disability Rights Rhode Island.
Crystal Martin arrived at the Disability Right’s Rhode Island organization with a wealth of experience in hospitality from The University Club. Crystal’s love for creative endeavors inspired her return to school as an adult learner at the Community College of Rhode Island. While in the Fine Arts program, the general education requirements sparked a passion for psychology, philosophy, as well as history. Upon transferring to Rhode Island College’s School of Social Work, she continued her journey to find her true calling. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree, and still feeling the drive to learn new skills, Crystal attended the Human Resource Management Program at Johnson and Wales University, where she received a Master’s degree.
As an Intake Advocate for the Disability Right’s Rhode Island organization, she is the agency’s primary screening resource for potential clients by responding to requests for services through phone calls, emails, and in-office appointments. Crystal also provides information for referrals to those whose requests do not fall in the Disability Right’s Rhode Island Focus Areas. In addition, she also responds to requests for publications, trainings, or outreach activities by preparing data to present to management for disposition.
Chief Financial Officer
Wendy joined our team in January 2020 to assist us in executing our day to day finance activities. She has experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and comes to us most recently from Brown University where she spent 11+ years in roles of increasing levels of finance responsibility. Her last role at Brown was as Senior Director of Finance and Data Initiatives in which she delivered all the accounting, finance and data needs of Brown University’s Division of Biology and Medicine.
Wendy holds a Certificate in Public Accounting (CPA) and has earned an MBA in Finance from Bryant University.
Morna A. Murray, J.D.
Morna is the Executive Director of Disability Rights Rhode Island. She has more than 25 years of experience working in public policy and advocacy in the private sector, state government, and on Capitol Hill. Prior to DRRI, Morna served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, and a member of Governor Dan Malloy’s cabinet. In that position, she oversaw state services for children and adults with disabilities throughout Connecticut. Prior to that, she was President and CEO of the Connecticut Community Providers Association, advocating and lobbying for disabilities and behavioral health non-profit providers at the state level.
Morna served as Senior Counsel to U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and lead staff on all healthcare and children’s issues, including the development and passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Morna previously served as Director of Youth Development for the Children’s Defense Fund, Washington, D.C., where she advocated for legislation and programs serving the needs of low-income children and families.
Morna currently serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP), a research program funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, AJ Drexel Autism Institute’s Life Course Outcomes Research Program.
A graduate of the George Washington University Law School, Morna is a member of the Connecticut, District of Columbia, and Florida Bars. She has two adult children and two grandchildren.
Director of Investigations
Jeanne Natale is a graduate of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy, class of 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from New England Institute of Technology, and brings ten years of investigative experience. As a Detective with the Brown University Department of Public Safety, Jeanne investigated criminal and civil complaints. She was responsible for implementing and overseeing the special victims unit and worked closely with survivors of interpersonal violence. As a mentor, Jeanne provided high school students with a positive law enforcement experience and training on basic crime scene investigations.
Passionate about advocating for victims, Jeanne held an eight year volunteer position on the board of directors for Sojourner House. Currently, she is an active member of the Rhode Island Criminalist Association and newest member of the team at DDRI.
Ray was a veteran Detective with the Johnston Police Department, retiring with 23 years of service. He was the Lead Investigator in the case of United States vs Gregory Floyd et al, a heinous crime of carjacking/double murder which resulted in the conviction of five individuals. Ray is also a published author of the book Thrill Killers. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Workforce Board of Greater Rhode Island by both Governor Chafee and Raimondo. This Board served the needs of the unemployed and under employed population. Ray has also been a criminal justice Adjunct Professor at New England Institute of Technology, as well as worked for a community action program in the capacity as a Victim of Crime Advocate. Ray received his Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University.
Catherine Sansonetti, Esquire
Catherine is a Managing Attorney who has been with Disability Rights Rhode Island since 2002. She represents clients on a variety of civil rights legal issues and within all areas of DRRI’s services. Catherine supervises intake operations to ensure that callers receive quality and timely service or information and referral.
In addition to broad legal practice at DRRI, Catherine is the lead attorney on the agency’s Client Assistance Program to advise or represent clients in their connection with vocational rehabilitation, independent living, or employment matters related to Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Catherine also serves a leadership role as the Vice-Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council, a citizen advisory board appointed by the Governor and mandated by the federal Rehabilitation Act. She also is Chair of the Council’s State Plan, Policy, and Quality Committee where she provides input or formal comments related to the delivery of state vocational rehabilitation services or proposed regulations and policy changes.
Catherine is admitted to practice in the State and federal courts of RI and is also admitted in Massachusetts.
Kristine L. Sullivan
Kristine Sullivan worked at Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) for 15 years before coming to DRRI. At DRNC, she served as the supervising attorney for the investigations and monitoring unit. Her work focused on investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or suspicious deaths; monitoring the care and treatment provided at facilities throughout the state; advocating for policy changes; and enforcing the P&A’s unique access authority under federal law.
In 2022, Kristine joined DRRI to focus on systemic advocacy, or efforts to change and improve systems that serve our clients. Her particular focus is to ensure the state fulfills the promise of Olmstead, so that all Rhode Islanders with disabilities can live, learn, and work in the communities of their choice. In her role as Legal Director – Systemic Reform, Kristine also provides legal support to the Investigations Team.
Kristine earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her law degree from UNC School of Law. She is conversant in American Sign Language and is the author of a manual for attorneys and advocates who represent students in matters related to seclusion and restraint in schools.
In her free time, Kristine loves traveling and live music.
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