This year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 2 through 8. The theme “Strength. Resilience. Justice.” envisions a future in which all victims are strengthened by the support they receive, organizations are resilient in responding to victims’ needs and communities come together to seek collective justice and healing.
This is a time for communities across the country to bring attention to the devastating impact crime has on its victims. It is also a time to show appreciation for the brave victims and witnesses who overcame fear, shame, guilt and personal challenges to ensure justice is served.
In recognition of victims’ rights week, District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert will honor victims and witnesses who have shown uncommon courage by participating in the criminal justice process under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. DA Schubert will also recognize an individual who has contributed to public safety through extraordinary service as a volunteer advocate on behalf of children and families.
Outstanding Citizen Awards Ceremony
Friday, April 7, 2017 ~ 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Board of Supervisors’ Chambers -700 H Street, Sacramento
Michelle and Colleen were 5 and 6 years old respectively, when defendant Steven Ramos began sexually assaulting them in the mid-1990s. When Michelle and Colleen disclosed the abuse to officials in 1997, they were pressured by a family member to say they lied and recanted their allegations. As a result, charges against Ramos were dropped. By 1998, Ramos was again sexually assaulting Michelle and Colleen. He continued the assaults through 2005. Fearing no one would believe them, Michelle and Colleen kept the ongoing sexual abuse a secret for many years. In August 2012, when Michelle and Colleen were in their mid-20s, they found the courage to report the crimes a second time out of sheer concern that Ramos would begin sexually assaulting other children. They both testified as strong survivors at trial and were not shaken by defense counsel’s difficult questions, even with Ramos glaring at them while in court. Ramos was convicted by a jury of 22 counts of child sexual assault charges, forcible rape and attempted forcible rape. He was sentenced to 46 years and 4 months in prison.
Karen was 72 years old when defendant Joseph McKeever followed her home and forced his way into her residence. McKeever physically and sexually assaulted Karen. He then forced Karen to show him her jewelry and took $900 in cash from her purse. Karen showed great courage in collecting herself after this violent attack. She called 911 and provided a thorough statement to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Karen then led deputies on a walkthrough of her house and helped a crime scene investigator create a composite sketch of McKeever, which led to his identification and arrest after being shown on local news. Despite her fear, Karen faced her attacker and did a wonderful job testifying in court. McKeever was convicted by a jury of attempted rape, assault to commit rape during the commission of a residential burglary and home invasion robbery. The jury also found true the crimes were committed against an elderly victim. He was sentenced to 14 years to life in prison.
Daniel and Heidi were asleep in their bedroom when Daniel heard a tapping at their bedroom window at around 3:00 a.m. When Daniel pulled up the blinds, he saw defendant Anthony Galloway staring back at him. Galloway climbed through the window into their bedroom with a large hammer in his hand. Once inside, Galloway physically and sexually assaulted Heidi and Daniel. Even though Daniel knew he could not overpower Galloway, who was taller and 100 pounds heavier, Daniel charged at him to stop the attack. Galloway quickly placed Daniel in a choke hold. During the scuffle, Daniel told Heidi to run. Heidi did not leave Daniel. Instead, she used her bare fist to punch a hole through their bedroom window and screamed for help until neighbors woke up and called 911. This couple showed a tremendous amount of courage and dedication to each other when they fought off Galloway. Galloway was convicted by a jury of first-degree burglary, assault with intent to rape during the course of the burglary, and two counts of forcible oral copulation with the allegations that Galloway committed the crime during the commission of the burglary and personally used a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 57 years to life in prison.
John Myers is a Sacramento-based family law attorney and a professor at McGeorge School of Law. As one of the country’s foremost authorities on child abuse litigation, John has represented hundreds of abused, neglected children and victims of domestic violence. In addition, John has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to helping left behind parents and children when a non-custodial parent abducts their own children and moves them out of their country of residence (called Hague Treaty Convention cases). The Hague law does not look for what is in the best interest of the children; it is only to return them to their habitual country when the legal requirements are met. John serves as a much needed advocate to ensure children receive the necessary evaluations and to argue on their behalf based on their needs. He does this completely pro bono because his primary goal is to help children who are caught in the middle of parental abductions. His pro bono work includes preparing legal documents, appearing in court on behalf of a parent or child, setting up expert evaluations to determine what is best for the children, helping families come to an agreement on child custody and visitation and assisting with other immediate family needs. John has successfully resolved some of the most difficult and complex cases. Although these cases are often disturbing, emotionally volatile and extract a personal toll, John is steadfast in the battle because he knows the law is in a position to play an important role in bettering the lives of victimized children. We honor John for his passion and volunteer legal services to protect children and restore the safety and stability of their families.
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