Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date: April 27, 2012
ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
OCDA’S 4th ANNUAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS MARCH & RALLY DRAWS OVER 400 TO HONOR CRIME VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) hosted the 4th Annual Victims’ Rights March & Rally today in remembrance of murdered victims, in celebration of surviving victims, and in honor of victims’ rights. Over 400 victims, family, friends, law enforcement, and community leaders marched from the District Attorney’s Office to the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana and laid flowers at the foot of a memorial wreath to honor and celebrate the lives of murdered and surviving victims.
The Orange County Victims’ Rights March & Rally was established in 2009 after almost two decades of legal efforts to secure the rights of crime victims. In 1990, Proposition 115 increased defendant sentences and decreased the number of times a victim had to testify. In 1996, Megan’s Law required sex offender registration and gave parents and the community access to sex offender residence addresses in their neighborhoods. In 2000, Proposition 21 increased the punishments for serious and dangerous gang crimes. In 2004, Proposition 69 required felony arrestees to submit a DNA sample and Proposition 66, which would have allowed the release of dangerous third-strikers, was defeated. In 2006, Proposition 83, or Jessica’s Law, instituted mandatory 15 years to life sentences for certain serious sex offenses against children. In 2008, Marsy’s Law codified victims’ rights into the California Constitution. The OCDA is continuing to work on local ordinances and State legislation to further protect the community and prevent new victims.
“As a community of survivors, we are going to take our grief, turn it into anger, and turn that anger into action,” stated Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “There will always be more of us than criminals, and we are never going to stop working to protect others from suffering as we did, and prevent them from hurting more innocent victims.”
The March & Rally included reception welcome remarks and the Pledge of Allegiance by United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., remarks by Executive Officer of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board Julie Nauman, Presentation of the Colors by the Santa Ana Police Department Honor Guard, National Anthem by Deputy District Attorney Anna Chinowth, Moment of Silence by Vice-Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Michelle Park Steel, and Proclamation Presentation by Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
The keynote speakers were Donna Bjoin, sister of murder victim Katherine O’Connell, and Alisa, a survivor of sexual assault. Bjoin’s sister Katherine was murdered in 1983 by her estranged husband William Mordick. Bjoin’s family waited over 25 years and through two jury trials for justice until William Mordick was finally convicted and sentenced for Katherine’s murder in 2011. Bjoin now serves a volunteer in the major crimes division as a Victims Advocate Assistant for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. She conducts outreach to victims regarding available support services and provides court support for victims and their families.
In 2002, 16-year-old Alisa was brutally sexually assaulted by three 17-year-old defendants, who videotaped their crime as a sick trophy. The defendants included Gregory Haidl, son of a then-assistant sheriff, and his friends Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann. Ten years after she was sexually assaulted, Alisa spoke publicly for the first time at the Rally. She is now a state-certified sexual assault victim advocate and crisis intervention counselor and volunteers with the non-profit Project Sister Family Services assisting sexual assault victims.
For their contributions and support, the OCDA would like to thank the Orange County Board of Supervisors, OC Parks, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Association of Orange County Deputy District Attorneys – Civic Action Committee, Orange County District Attorney Investigators’ Association, Santa Ana Police Department, Orange County Fire Authority, Community Service Programs, Inc., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, CorrectiveSolutions, Starbucks on 17th Street & Grand Avenue, and Michael and Susan Kang Schroeder. This event was hosted at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
www.orangecountyda.com • 401 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701