In May 2010, to coordinate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in enforcing federal civil rights laws, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz formed the Civil Rights Enforcement Team (CRET) which is composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) and support staff from the criminal and civil divisions of this office. The primary goal of the CRET is to develop a comprehensive enforcement and outreach strategy to address civil rights issues that arise in the District of Massachusetts.
CRET works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Massachusetts residents, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. CRET enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin.
In order to effectively deter and penalize those who commit civil rights violations, it is essential that we partner with state and local law enforcement, community groups and advocates. Increasing our visibility and developing trust among those vulnerable communities is a key element of the strategy of CRET and instrumental in increasing the number of enforcement actions – both criminal and civil – generated by our office.
CRET works with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to stop discrimination in housing, employment, education, credit, public accommodations, state and local government programs, and certain federally funded and conducted programs. In addition, CRET is responsible for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, damage to religious property, misconduct by police and other public officials, forced labor, sex trafficking of children, and criminal interference with persons obtaining reproductive health services.