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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Honors Crime Victims and Victims’ Rights Advocates at Annual Ceremony

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – As part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania again honored a number of crime victims for their strength and resiliency, as well as law enforcement personnel, community partners, and attorneys for their exceptional service to victims of crime during the office’s annual Victim and Victim Advocates Recognition Ceremony that took place yesterday afternoon in the Joseph F. Weis Jr. United States Courthouse.

President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 1981 to bring greater attention and respect to the needs and rights of victims of crime. Each April, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania joins U.S. Attorney’s Offices and other federal, state, and local communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by honoring victims of crime and those who advocate on their behalf. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also participates in several events throughout the district to bring awareness to the services available to victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 21-27. The theme is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors,” with a focus on creating safe environments for crime victims to share their experiences and offer support, options for life-saving services, and most importantly, hope.

“Crime does not discriminate. It finds victims from all walks of life and makes them members of a club they never wanted to join,” said U.S. Attorney Eric G. Olshan. “The strength and resilience victims of crime demonstrate throughout the criminal justice process is truly remarkable, and we are proud to stand beside them every step of the way. The work that our office and our partners—inside and outside government—do to support these individuals, protect and enforce their rights under the law, and pursue justice on their behalf is at the core of what we do.”

In addition to honoring several civilian victims of crime during the ceremony, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented awards to several members of the office and law enforcement and community partners, recognizing their work on behalf of victims of crime throughout the past year. Law enforcement and community partner award recipients included:

• Five physically injured members of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police—Officers Daniel Mead, Michael Smidga, Anthony Burke, Timothy Matson, and John Persin—were honored with Strength and Resiliency Awards for their bravery in responding to the October 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and their assistance in the resulting investigation and prosecution.

• Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Carla Durrant was honored with an Outstanding Service Award for her role as the lead investigator in a case involving hate crimes committed by two defendants against more than a dozen severely disabled, non-verbal residents of a Western Pennsylvania health care facility.

• Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents Michael Radens and Carey Smith and Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Bengel were recognized with Outstanding Service Awards for their roles in the successful dismantling and prosecution of a large-scale conspiracy to defraud elderly victims. A local bank manager was also honored for quickly alerting local law enforcement when a victim attempted to withdraw a substantial sum of cash based on false representations made to the victim by members of the conspiracy.

• Margie Rosselli from the Clearfield County Victim Witness Office was recognized with an Outstanding Service Award for her work providing primary advocacy assistance to a victim and the victim’s family members in a case involving the sexual exploitation of a child.

• Assistant United States Attorney Heidi Grogan was honored with the U.S. Attorney’s Victim Advocate Award for both her role as the office’s Project Safe Childhood coordinator and her advocacy for victims and victims’ rights in each of her own cases. By ensuring that victims are regularly updated and consulted regarding case developments and allowing time to meet with victims whenever they have questions, Ms. Grogan has fostered increased trust with and participation from victims and their families, resulting in numerous successful convictions and sentencings.

• Victim Assistant Specialist Adrienne Howe also was awarded the U.S. Attorney’s Victim Advocate Award for her outstanding years of service in all facets of the work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office on behalf of crime victims, and in particular for her years of assistance to the those impacted by the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and her tireless support of those crime victims during the months-long capital trial.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania is committed to ensuring that federal crime victims are afforded all rights to which they are entitled by law. To learn more about our Victim Witness services, please visit our website at

Updated April 25, 2024