WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 1987202/724-7782

Attorney General Edwin Meese III today honored ten people who have made outstanding contributions in assisting victims of crime. Today's awards ceremony commemorated National Victims of Crime Week (April 26 through May 2.)

In a recent message to the nation, President Reagan urged all citizens and government officials during Victims of Crime week to reiterate their commitment to victims of crime, to highlight the progress made on behalf of victim concerns across the country and to honor individuals working to protect the interests of crime victims.

"I commend the men and women, inside and outside the justice system, in government and the private sector, and in communities throughout the nation, who are dedicated to the fair treatment of the innocent victims of crime," the President declared. "In so doing, they affirm our nation's promise of liberty and justice for all."

The honorees were greeted by the Attorney General and the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, Richard B. Abell, at the Department of Justice ceremony. They included criminal justice professionals, service providers and individual victims who have contributed to efforts to support victim issues.

In presenting the awards, the Attorney General stated: "This Administration has made significant progress in restoring balance to the criminal justice system so that the victims of crime receive the fairness and respect they deserve. With the help of those we honor during Victims of Crime Week, we are reaching that goal."

Those honored were:
Denver Mock of Bryan, Ohio. Mock has been an elected sheriff in Williams County, Ohio, for 20 years and has organized victim rights conferences in the state. He directed one of the most successful efforts in the country to educate sheriffs and their deputies on the needs of crime victims, and served as a training consultant to the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Sheriff Mock was named the VFW Sheriff of the Year for 1980, and received the Ohio Attorney General Award for Distinguished Service.

Bob Owens of Oxnard, California. Owens served as Oxnard's chief of police for 16 years and made an outstanding commitment to the training of his police officers in how to respond to victims of crime, particularly in the area of domestic violence and crisis intervention. He consistently worked to implement other victim-related policies such as property return and special child interview techniques.

Chief Owens was named the Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer in 1984 by the California Trial Lawyers Association, received the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce trophy for bringing national recognition to the city, and was honored in 1985 for Outstanding Achievement in Crime Prevention by the Governor of California.

Merton B. Tice, Jr., of Rapid City, South Dakota. As a circuit court judge for the Seventh Judicial District of South Dakota, Judge Tice has made the people of his home state acutely aware of the needs and problems of crime victims. He established a Committee on Victims and Witnesses that became an aggressive promoter of victim rights, ranging from the appointment of guardians ad litem for certain child victims to consultation between a state's attorney and the victim prior to plea bargaining.

Norman S. Early, Jr., of Denver, Colorado. Denver District Attorney Norman Early has combined victim advocacy with his career in criminal justice. As a Deputy District Attorney, he established the Victim/Witness Assistance project in that city, one of several original prosecutor-based programs. He is responsible for the project's emphasis on criminal justice training, interagency coordination, technical assistance and the use of volunteers.

Among the honors bestowed upon District Attorney Early for his contributions to the community and the judicial field are the Park East Community Mental Health Center Award of Appreciation and the Distinguished Faculty Award of the National College of District Attorneys. He is President of the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Charlotte Hullinger of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mrs. Hullinger and her husband, the Reverend Robert Hullinger, are founders of Parents of Murdered Children. They established this self-help organization after their 19-year-old daughter was killed by an ex-boyfriend while the two of them were exchange students in Germany. Parents of Murdered Children maintains a national hotline for survivors of homicide victims, publishes a national newsletter and an annual directory, and provides education and literature for survivors and for professionals in various helping fields about the needs of survivors of homicide victims.

Mrs. Hullinger was named one of the ten "women of the Year" by the Cincinnati Enquirer for the year 1984. She has served on the Ohio Advisory Board On Victims.

Virginia E. Mahoney of Baltimore, Maryland. As the Federal Victim-Witness Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland, in Baltimore, Mrs. Mahoney was recognized for her efforts on behalf of crime victims and victim services. She has provided time, leadership and commitment to the implementation of the Attorney General's guidelines for the Victim and Witness Protection Act Of 1982 through her own program and as a resource to the Department of Justice and to other victim-witness coordinators. Mrs. Mahoney received the first President's Award from the Maryland Victim Assistance Network in 1984 and the Maryland Governor's Victim Assistance Award for professional service providers.

Constance C. Noblet of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Nobler has served as the executive director of the Crime Victims Center of Chester County, Pennsylvania, for 13 years. As one of the pioneers in the victim's movement, Mrs. Noblet has been involved in numerous workshops and seminars, sharing her skills and expertise with new victim service providers and criminal justice professionals. She serves as an advisor to communities developing sexual assault or comprehensive crime victims centers and volunteers her time to the National Organization for Victim Assistance and the National Institute of Mental Health as a conference planner and facilitator. Mrs. Noblet is the recipient of the First Woman of the Year Award from the Women's Coalition of Pennsylvania.

Rita Koppinger of Glendale, Arizona. As the human services director for the city of Glendale, Miss Koppinger directs the activities of the Victim Assistance unit. Her unit received an award from the National Organization for Victim Assistance for its comprehensive services to victims and its special assistance to Hispanic, elderly, and domestic violence victims and homicide survivors. Miss Koppinger also oversees a Youth Services Program, an Employee Assistance Program, and a noteworthy Neighborhood Mediation Service that helps residents resolve neighborhood and domestic disputes that would otherwise tie up countless police hours.

Robert Preston of Boynton Beach, Florida. Preston abandoned his career as an electronics engineer after the murder of his 21-year-old daughter in 1977, to serve full time as a volunteer for JUSTICE FOR SURVIVING VICTIMS. This organization is devoted to elevating the status of all victims in the criminal justice system. Preston was a primary force in the successful passage of Florida's Victim-Witness Protection Act of 1984 and worked actively on tort reform legislation and the 1981 exclusionary rule reform in the state. He has received recognition for his work from such organizations as the Florida Network of Victim Witness Services, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, Palm Beach County and the Florida Trial Lawyers Association.

Barbara Kaplan of Newton, Massachusetts. In 1981, Mrs. Kaplan became a victim of violent crime while at her office at a mental health center in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. A man opened the door of the meeting room and fired four shots, murdering the staff psychiatrist and psychologist and sending two bullets into the head of Mrs. Kaplan. The assault caused her to lose the sight of one eye. Drawing on her experience as a victim of violent crime, Mrs. Kaplan conducts workshops and training sessions to increase the knowledge of others on the emotional impact of violent crime. She is the author of "Survivors Story: Aftermath of a Shooting," as well as other publications, and serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.

"The efforts of these individuals have generated significant changes in their communities in the way the justice system and society are responding to the needs of crime victims," Acting Assistant Attorney General Abell said. "Because of their work and that of others like them, action has been taken upon nearly 75 percent of the recommendations of the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime."

The Office for Victims of Crime within the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice was established to help the states implement the Task Force recommendations on how to improve and expand the criminal justice system's response to victims of crime. The Office is providing training for law enforcement officials to inform them about the needs of crime victims and how to better serve them.

The Office collects and disseminates information and resources vital to those involved in assisting victims and administers the Victims of Crime fund which awards Federal dollars to state victim compensation and assistance programs. "Across the nation," Abell said, "victims, service providers and criminal justice personnel exemplified by those honored today are working for legislative reforms, monitoring court proceedings, riding to the scenes of crimes with police and offering emotional support to one another.

"The concerted efforts of these honorees and the many other dedicated citizens across the country have led to the establishment of local victim/witness assistance programs, homicide survivor groups rape crisis centers, shelters for battered wives and abused children, and programs to locate and protect missing and exploited children."

"The progress is indeed encouraging," the President stated in his message to the nation on Crime Victims Week. "The tide of support for victims is swelling and will continue to move forward into the future...For the sake of justice and human dignity, it is imperative that we treat victims of crime with respect, compassion, and fairness."

After hours contact: Paula Felt, 703/836-0490