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Victim Witness Unit recognizes extra efforts

May 06, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

The Victim Witness Unit of the Washington County State's Attorney's Office has recognized several people for providing assistance to victims of crime.

"It's a way to thank them for doing more than just their job," said Jill Ritter, director of the Victim Witness Unit.

For the past nine years, the unit has honored advocates for victims and witnesses in the court system, said Ritter.

The award recipients are nominated by the public and staff, and the unit makes final selections, she said. The recipients are:

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n Debbie Peyton, a former victim's advocate for the State's Attorney's Office, recognized for her concern for the family of a murder victim.

"It's touching," said Peyton on receiving the award.

Being an advocate is rewarding because you can help make the process less painful for those involved, she said.

n Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Robert Veil for his "sincere compassion and willingness to prosecute cases."

n Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Steven Kessell for "exhausting efforts in securing a judgment of restitution against a home builder who misspent money earmarked to build homes.

n Hagerstown City Police Det. Shawn Schultz, for his efforts in getting a defendant's statement and showing compassion for the family of a sex abuse victim.

n Paula Price, adult protective services case worker for the Department of Social Services, for her compassion in supporting a victim of sexual abuse.

n Brenda Lohman, child protective services caseworker; Karen Walker, therapist; and Helen Lookabaugh, victim advocate, for working with a victim of sexual abuse for the Child Advocacy Center.

Members of the Victim Witness Unit aid victims and witnesses by explaining the court process to them and handling restitution and other services

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