A reception at 10 a.m today at Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview will mark the return of a program to aid in prosecution of sexual assaults in Gregg and nearby counties.

Gregg County hasn’t had a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program in at least three years. SANE nurses are trained to perform forensic exams and evidence collection after a reported sexual assault.

The SANE nurses will work at CGSMC but will be available for referrals from Longview Regional Medical Center or other area medical outlets, Women’s Center Executive Director Shannon Trest said. She said it’s been about three years since one SANE nurse left the area and another “just was burned out.”

The nurses are a critical part of the county’s Sexual Assault Response Team, which includes law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, the Women’s Center of East Texas and child advocacy centers.

”It’s so great,” Trest said, describing the clinical trials the local nurses underwent in San Antonio to hasten their certification, at the nonprofit center’s expense.

CGSMC spokesman William Knous said two SANE nurses are fully certified, and five others are in the last stage of earning certification.

”My hat’s off to Christus for reinstating the program,” Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said. “They said they would, and they did it.”