July 13, 2008
Abuse Shelter Head Turns to Violence and Abuse
By Carey Roberts
The domestic violence industry operates under the cloak of secrecy and anonymity, maintaining such policies are necessary to shield victims from their abusers. But every now and then a crack appears in the façade, revealing a sordid panorama of corruption, fraud, and abuse.
On February 28, 2007 the Naples, Fla. citizenry opened their morning newspapers to the jolting headline, “CEO Out at Women’s Shelter: Investigation into Battery Complaint Prompts Departure.” Over the next several months, details would spill out of a woman’s rights activist who had evolved into a self-serving “tyrant,” as one of her colleagues later described her.
The charges surrounded Kathy Herrmann Catino, a former victim of domestic violence and director of the Naples Shelter for Abused Women and Children.
Fifteen years ago Ms. Catino took over the helm of the debt-ridden shelter. She worked tirelessly and proved to be a skilled rainmaker, growing the shelter into a 60-bed facility with a $3.5 million budget, 52 staff members, and 276 volunteers.
But her crusade took on messianic overtones. Believing she was the savior of women, Catino set out to control the Board of Directors and even the personal lives of her employees.
“Kathy Herrmann-Catino ruled as the queen of the fortress she built for too long,” revealed one woman, adding she “was obsessed with the need to control her subordinates and others in the community, and her obsession grew as the Shelter grew.”….(Full Story)