Kelly Higashi, Chief
The Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section is responsible for the prosecution of all misdemeanor and felony cases that involve:
- Domestic violence (that is, any crime where the victim and the perpetrator are related by blood, marriage, a child in common, legal guardianship, a romantic relationship, or cohabitation);
- Sexual abuse (including all cases involving adult rape and child molestation); and child physical abuse.
The Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section is staffed with three supervisors (a Chief and two Deputy Chiefs), and a range of prosecutors who handle misdemeanor, mid-level felony and the most serious felony cases. All cases assigned to this Section are prosecuted vertically, that is, one prosecutor is responsible for the case from the initial interview of the victim, through the investigation and charging process, to trial, or other disposition. The Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section Assistant United States Attorneys are supported by Victim-Witness Assistance advocates and a child interview specialist who have expertise in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault, along with paralegals and legal assistants.
Members of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section work closely with other community organizations and agencies on issues related to domestic violence, sexual abuse and crimes against children. These organizations include the District of Columbia Children's Advocacy Center, the Domestic Violence Intake Center at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the Child and Adolescent Protection Center at the Children’s National Medical Center, and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner's Program at Howard University Hospital.