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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

U.S. Attorney's Office Observes National Crime Victims' Rights Week By Recognizing Victims And Those Who Advocate For Victims

CONTACT:  Barbara Burns

PHONE:         (716) 843-5817

FAX #:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, NY--In observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, 2019, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. today recognized victims of crime and an organization that works tirelessly to assist those who are victimized. Honored today were:

• PATH (People Against Trafficking Humans) is a faith-based not-for-profit organization in WNY with a mission to end human trafficking through education, prevention, and restoration. PATH operates an Enrichment Center located in the City of Buffalo which offers therapeutic support services for women and children who are vulnerable, at risk or have been exploited through sex or labor trafficking. In addition, PATH is an active members of the Federal Human Trafficking Task Force.

• Barbara and Sigmund Szymanski have shown exceptional perseverance and determination as they deal with the tragic loss of their son who was the victim of a violent crime. Daniel “DJ” Szymanski was murdered on September 6, 2014, by Kingsmen Motorcycle Club member Andre Jenkins, at the direction of KMC National President David Pirk. Jenkins and Pirk were sentenced to serve life in prison for their convictions on RICO conspiracy.

• Also honored was the mother of a young woman lost to the opioid epidemic.  She also has shown incredible resolve and persistence as she deals with the devastating overdose death of her daughter. Defendant Dontrell Wise who sold the fentanyl which led to the death of her daughter was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

“Victims of crime deserve justice. This Department works every day to help them recover and to find, prosecute, and convict those who have done them harm,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “During this National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we pause to remember the millions of Americans who have been victims of crime and we thank public servants who have served them in especially heroic ways. This week the men and women of the Department recommit ourselves once again to ensuring that crime victims continue to have a voice in our legal system, to securing justice for them, and to preventing other Americans from suffering what they have endured.”

“At today’s ceremony, we honor victims of three of the threats which we here at the US Attorney’s Office work tirelessly to combat each and every day—violent crime, the opioid crisis, and human trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Kennedy.  “My message to the criminals who victimize others in our community by taking the lives of our loved ones is simple.  If you take the life of another, then be prepared to give up you own.  If you don’t believe me when I say that, then just ask Mr. Wise, Mr. Jenkins, and Mr. Pirk whether we mean it.  Each of them took the life of another.  Each of them will spend the rest of their life in jail.”

Each year in April, the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys’ offices observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week nationwide by taking time to honor victims of crime and those who advocate on their behalf. In addition, the Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys’ offices organize events to honor the victims and advocates, as well as bring awareness to services available to victims of crime. This year’s theme is: Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.

The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, within the Office of Justice Programs, leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week each year. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 1981 to bring greater sensitivity to the needs and rights of victims of crime.

The Office of Justice Programs provides innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the implementation of these crime-fighting strategies. Because most of the responsibility for crime control and prevention falls to law enforcement officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods, the federal government can be effective in these areas only to the extent that it can enter into partnerships with these officers.

More information about the Office of Justice Programs and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov. More information about Crime Victim’s Rights Week can be found at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/. You may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Program at 716-843-5700.

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Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Opioids
Violent Crime
Updated April 11, 2019