Ten Individuals to be Honored During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Acting United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that 10 individuals will be awarded Department of Justice Certificates of Appreciation as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) 2015. The two ceremonies honoring these individuals will take place during NCVRW, April 19-25, where Mr. Seiler will present the honorees with their awards and provide brief remarks in recognition of their outstanding dedication, service, and contributions on behalf of crime victims.
The first ceremony will be held in Rapid City on Monday, April 20, 2015, at1:30 p.m..
It will take place at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, located at 515 Ninth Street. The award recipient is Hollie Strand, an Education Specialist/Forensic Interviewer with Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of the Black Hills.
Ms. Strand has worked at the CAC for over seven years, and has interviewed more than 1,100 children during that time. Through hundreds of trainings and presentations, she has been instrumental in bringing public awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse and other traumatic crimes, and has made an extraordinary difference in the lives of numerous children.
The second ceremony will be held in Sioux Falls on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 1:00 p.m.. It will take place at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, located at 325 S. 1st Ave., Suite 300. There will be nine honorees at this ceremony.
The first honoree is Doug Thesenvitz, the Tribal Prosecutor for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. Mr. Thesenvitz has given 16 consecutive years to the tribe, steadfastly representing the rights of victims. He is one of the longest serving tribal prosecutors in South Dakota.
The remaining eight honorees were selected for their work in the area of sex trafficking. This team began a sex trafficking investigation in January of 2012, with a tip that one underage girl was being sold for sex. Using their full arsenal of investigative tools, they uncovered a loose ring of interconnected “pimps” selling dozens of girls and young women for sex in the Sioux Falls area and across several Midwest states. This interagency cooperation and professionalism resulted in four federal indictments and convictions. The sentences ranged from a 33-year prison term; three life sentences; four life sentences; and a 30-year prison term.
The team members and award recipients include the following:
- Charla Aramayo Special Agent—Department of Homeland Security Investigations
- Gretchen Slate Special Agent—SD Division of Criminal Investigation/FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force
- Gayle Scott Victim Specialist—FBI
- Matthew J. Miller Special Agent—FBI
- Michael D. Melcher Special Agent—FBI
- Stephanie Knapp Child/Adolescent Forensic Interviewer—FBI Office for Victim Assistance in Loveland, CO
- Cullen McClure Officer—Sioux Falls Police Department—Street Crimes Unit
- Brad Smidt Detective—Sioux Falls Police Department—Street Crimes Unit
The Victims of Crime Act was passed by Congress in 1984, and NCVRW honors and celebrates the achievements of the past thirty years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. For additional information, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website at www.ovc.gov