Opening Ceremony of the 20th Annual Operation Reach Out to Mark National Victims of Crime Week | USAO-SDWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – National Victims of Crime Rights Week will be commemorated April 24-30, 2022, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia is sponsoring its 20and Annual opening ceremony of Operation Reach Out to promote respect.

The ceremony will take place at the West Virginia State Capitol on Tuesday, April 26 at 10 a.m. This year’s theme is “Rights, Access, Equity for All Victims” and highlights the importance of helping survivors of crime find justice through upholding rights. victims, expanding access to services and ensuring equity and inclusion for all.

Stephanie Wilson will share her message of hope and strength for fellow survivors as part of Tuesday’s ceremony. Wilson was just 11 when a man posing as a store security guard lured her away from her mother at the South Charleston Target and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint. Following his July 2003 crime, the accused was convicted and sentenced to prison on federal and state charges. Wilson now stands up for victims of crime and encourages them to remember that they are not alone.

“Stephanie is a real profile of courage,” said U.S. Attorney Will Thompson, who will host the event. “She overcame a horrific ordeal and her continued dedication to survivors and their loved ones is inspiring.”

Thompson will present several awards at the ceremony and is also among the scheduled speakers, including: West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice John A. Hutchinson; Roger Hanshaw, Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates; Janet Kawash, clerk of the West Virginia Legislative Claims Commission; and Jeff Sandy, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security.

The ceremony is scheduled for the South Steps of the State Capitol near Kanawha Boulevard. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place on the Senate side of the Capitol’s upper rotunda.

Each year, the United States Department of Justice and Attorney’s Offices observe National Crime Victims Rights Week across the country in April, to honor victims of crime and those who advocate for them. name. Operation Reach Out is a collaborative effort involving local advocacy programs that raise awareness about National Victims of Crime Week and the various organizations that provide services to victims of crime.

The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, within the Office of Justice Programs, leads communities across the country in observing National Victims of Crime Week. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Victims of Crime Week to raise awareness of the needs and rights of victims of crime.

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

For more information on Justice Bureau programs and components, visit For more information on Victims of Crime Week, visit You may also contact the United States Attorney’s Office, SDWV, Victim Witness Program at (304) 345-2200.

A copy of this press release can be found on the website of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.


About Margaret L. Portillo

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