Chris Gaal Biography
During three terms as Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, Chris Gaal has been
committed to fair and equal justice before the law, while professionally
serving the needs of crime victims. Gaal was a driving force behind several
ground-breaking local partnerships that have enhanced the quality of life in our
community by addressing important public safety issues.
In 2009, Gaal organized the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART),
helped create a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at I.U.
Health Bloomington Hospital, and designated a deputy prosecutor to
specialize in challenging sexual assault and child sex abuse cases.
Gaal also developed several sexual assault prevention efforts focused on educating
Indiana University students about "consent." One such program, "Blame it on the alcohol",
won a leadership award from the I.U. Commission on Personal Safety.
Gaal worked to develop a
Child Advocacy Center (CAC) to serve the needs of
children in Monroe County, and was successful
in helping Susie's Place to open its doors in 2011. Susie's Place now provides a
trained professional to conduct forensic interviews of child victims and witnesses in a
comfortable, neutral, child-friendly environment. The Prosecutor's Office continues to
participate in a multi-disciplinary team to ensure that cases of child abuse are
thoroughly investigated using best practices. The creation of a child advocacy
center to serve the local community has significantly strengthened our ability to nurture
and protect children by ensuring that professionals and agencies work together effectively to
provide comprehensive services. Gaal then worked with members of the local medical community to expand the SANE program to provide forensic pediatric medical examinations for cases involving child victims of abuse. A new local pediatric forensic medical exam program was formally announced in 2017.
To better respond to youth at risk of dropping out of school, Gaal proposed a Truancy Court.
This effort won the 2009 Educator of the Year Leading Light Award as an outstanding and innovative
program that enhances the local education community. Gaal also created the "Live Better" campaign
to help young people appreciate the many benefits of high school graduation. He helped organize
a local dropout prevention summit and an ongoing community coalition to better coordinate resources
serving youth and to boost local graduation rates and help kids prepare for successful futures.
Gaal also created the "Children & Technology" guide to help parents develop their own rules
for safely monitoring and setting limits on the use of technology by their children. Gaal developed
the "Never Leave a Child Unattended" campaign to address the potential harms including the threat
of abduction, heat stroke, wandering off, and drowning.
Another major focus for Gaal has been issues affecting the elderly. Gaal produced educational
materials designed to prevent financial exploitation, home improvement fraud, identity theft,
and to assist in hiring an in-home caregiver and establishing adult guardianships. Along with
the Area 10 Agency on Aging, in 2015 Gaal helped develop a Volunteer Guardianship Program to
meet the needs of indigent adults who lack the capacity to manage their own affairs - such as
those with dementia or developmental disabilities. Gaal was active as a leader at the state-level
to encourage Indiana to improve the Adult Protective Services (APS) program.
Gaal created the "Get a Ride!" prevention campaign to discourage drinking and driving,
and worked with I.U. Health Bloomington Hospital to develop an expedited
blood-alcohol testing protocol to better enforce drunk driving laws. Gaal also led the creation of the Monroe County Pharmaceutical Safe Disposal Program to provide a safe method to dispose of unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs - including controlled substances. This program received the 2013 Association of Indiana Counties Local Government Cooperation Award.
Gaal worked to better address the needs of criminal defendants suffering from serious
mental health issues through the Mental Health Review Team coordinated by the Prosecutor's Office. Gaal then worked with others to develop this team into a formal Mental Health Court in 2014. This important partnership now provides problem-solving resources to better address the needs of mentally ill criminal defendants in need of intervention, treatment and ongoing supervision.
Gaal worked with community stakeholders to expand the Prosecutor's Office Child Support
Program to include new problem-solving resources to better address job-training
and employment skills, and mental health issues including drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
This initiative was recognized with an award for "Outstanding Outreach Efforts" by the
Child Support Division at the Indiana Department of Child Services.
As prosecutor Chris Gaal prioritized crimes of violence (including domestic violence),
developed prevention and public safety resources to better address issues affecting
children and the elderly, and improved the criminal justice system's response to those suffering from mental illness.
In recognition of his many progressive community leadership initiatives,
Gaal received the 2014 Sharon Brehm Alcohol Awareness Award from Indiana University,
the 2010 Outstanding Legal Professional Award from the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault
(INCASA), the 2009 Visionary Leader Award from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce,
and the 2008 Outstanding Service Award from the IU Campus-Community Commission on Alcohol.
In 2016 Gaal received the Haines Turner Award from the Community Justice & Mediation Center
"for contributions to justice that heal and restore the Monroe County community."
Chris Gaal is a member of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC)
Board of Directors, and the IPAC Elder, Delinquency, Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes
Committee, and serves as chair of the IPAC Adult Protective Services (APS) committee.
He served as chair of the IPAC Board of Directors from 2012 to 2013, and received an award
for Outstanding Leadership in that capacity. Gaal has also served on the Foundation of Monroe
County Community Schools Board of Directors, and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce's
Franklin Initiative Advisory Board.
Chris Gaal served for seven years on the
Bloomington City Council (2000-2006), and was Council President for two years. Gaal also served on
the Bloomington Plan Commission for three years. In recognition of his early efforts to
promote the B-Line Trail, Gaal received an Award for Distinguished Leadership by an Elected
Official from the Indiana Planning Association in 2003.
Prior to being elected Prosecutor, Chris Gaal was in private
practice as an attorney in the firm of Miller & Gaal. He practiced both
criminal and civil law, serving clients in a wide range of areas including criminal defense,
family law, personal injury, estate planning and immigration.
Gaal has served on the WFHB Community Radio Board of Directors, the Monroe County Solid
Waste District Board, the Bloomington Environmental Resources Advisory Committee, the
Jack Hopkins Social Services Funding Committee, and the Bloomington Economic Development
Gaal is a Graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, and received a
Bachelor of the Arts from Indiana University - Bloomington. Gaal attended the Indiana Trial
Advocacy College, the National Advocacy Center Trial Advocacy program, and has also attended
numerous trainings and conferences put on by the National District Attorneys Association, the
Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, and many other organizations.
Chris Gaal lives in Bloomington with his wife Dr. Beth Florini and enjoys playing music
and outdoor activities in nature.
Graduate of Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington
Bachelor of the Arts, Indiana University, Bloomington