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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Partners With The Western North Carolina Crime Victims' Coalition To Recognize 12 Individuals For Their Significant Contributions In Assisting Victims Of Crime

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Event Commemorating National Victims’ Rights Week Was Held at the Asheville Campus of the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – United States Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced that 12 individuals were recognized yesterday at an event commemorating National Victims’ Rights week, sponsored by the Western North Carolina Victims’ Coalition in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The event was held at the Asheville Campus of the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.  As reflected in this year’s theme, “Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope,” the award honorees were selected for their significant efforts and contributions in assisting victims of crime.

Speaking at yesterday’s event, U.S. Attorney Rose said, “We have gathered to remember, rebuild and restore.  To remember loved ones lost to crime, to assist survivors rebuild their lives, and to restore the hope and trust of crime victims in their journey to healing and recovery.” 

The 12 recipients selected received awards in five categories:

Victim Advocacy Professional:

  • Christine Gibson – Disability and Elder Safe Coordinator with the 30th Judicial Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Alliance, Inc.

  • Meredith Hooks – Court Advocate and Family Justice Center Coordinator with Safelight in Henderson County.

  • Melissa Knight – Court Advocate with Helpmate.

  • Susie Presley – Victim Advocate with Haywood County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Angelica Wind – Executive Director of Our Voice.

Outstanding Law Enforcement Professional:

  • Sargent Benjamin McKay – Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Detective Joshua Meindl– Asheville Police Department.

  • Detective Matthew Orr – Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Criminal Justice Professional:

  • Rachael Groffsky – Assistant District Attorney with the 28th Prosecutorial District, Buncombe County.

  • The Honorable James Calvin Hill – Chief Court Judge with the 28th Prosecutorial District, Buncombe County.

  • Reid Taylor – Assistant District Attorney with the 30th Prosecutorial District.

Compassionate Community Volunteer:

  • Carolyn Lescallitt– Volunteer with the 30th Judicial Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Alliance, Inc.

U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the honorees for their outstanding dedication, service and support in working with crime victims and noted the important role each honoree has played in raising awareness and providing victims of crime with the support and resources they need in the aftermath of crime. 

Along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Western North Carolina Crime Victims’ Coalition is made up of victim advocates from the following agencies: Buncombe County Sheriff's Office; Asheville Police Department;  Buncombe County District Attorney's Office in Prosecutorial District 28; Pisgah Legal Services; Caring for Children - Trinity Place; Helpmate; Our Voice; and the 30th Judicial District Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Alliance, Inc. 

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week honors and celebrates the achievements of the past thirty years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports services for victims of all types of crime, including assistance for homicide survivors, survivors of child sexual abuse, and victims of human trafficking, as well as rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs among others. VOCA also funds victim compensation programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses - such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.

Updated April 26, 2016