Domestic Violence Shelter Director Works To Keep Facility Open
Secretary Of State Issues Cease And Desist Order

March 30, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. — The director of Oxford’s Domestic Violence Project is talking with the state in hopes of keeping the facility open.

The Secretary of State’s Office issued a “cease and desist” order Monday against the shelter for continuing to solicit donations.

Talaunja Eskridge, the center’s executive director, told the Oxford Eagle that the center remains open while she is in discussions with the secretary of state.

The organization was put under investigation in 2009 after the secretary of state’s office claimed the center failed to disclose that then-executive director Martha Crawford had a conviction of a simple assault of a minor; provided payroll advances without documents and failed to maintain proper books and records.

The center entered into a “consent agreement” that changes would be made.

Eskridge became the executive director after the original investigation began.

The Domestic Violence Project is no longer a registered charity with the state. It runs a shelter for victims of domestic abuse in Oxford and Lafayette County. It also offers anger management classes to couples and parents.

The Secretary of State’s Office said the center had continued to solicit for donations, despite failing to renew its charitable registration and also owes $156,000 to the IRS.

The center has 30 days to request an administrative hearing.