“We wanted to plant something perennial, something that will bloom every spring,” said victim/witness advocate Rose Marie Enriquez. “We wanted something that would be forever.”
In Ohio and across the nation, April 23 through 29 will be Crime Victims' Rights Week.
“It's a week to remember the victims and the losses they've had,” said Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn.
“Although we cherish our criminal justice system and the protection of individual rights,” Kuhn said. “We don't want the victims' rights to be lost in the process.”
All week there will be an information booth in the lobby that will be staffed by the county's Victim/Witness Program, the Southern Ohio Task Force on Domestic Violence, the Sexual Assault Treatment Center and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
“We needed people to know that these agencies exist, and that is one of the reasons we banded together for this week,” said Enriquez.
Victim/Witness advocate Norma Crawford said the advocate's job is to offer support for the victims as the case goes through court. The prosecutors deal with felony crimes, the most serious types of cases.
“We also wanted to do something formal here at the courthouse to commemorate the victims,” Kuhn said. There will be a ceremony on the Sixth Street side of the courthouse on Thursday at 5 p.m. The public is invited to a flower planting ceremony. There will be cake and refreshments afterwards.
Courthouse maintenance worker Mike Knauff, who Enriquez called “the green thumb of the courthouse”, is donating flowers and shrubs. He also is making the marker out of the Logan elm that once stood in front of the Norfolk & Western building. The metal plaque with the simple inscription of “In Honor of Victims of Crime” was provided by Estep Sporting Goods.
Information about the programs are always available at the prosecutor's office during regular business hours.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.