Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin

Editor: W. Patrick Tandy

April, 2004

 

MD Crime Victims' Resource Center
Opens Office in Baltimore City

By Tom Breihan


On March 1, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy stood in front of a quilt commemorating the dead victims of violent crime to announce the formation of the Baltimore City satellite office of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center (MCVRC). MCVRC Executive Director Russell P. Butler and Founder and Former Director Roberta Roper also spoke at the press conference, which was held in what is normally the victim witness waiting room of Baltimore’s Mitchell Courthouse.

The new office is located a block and a half from the courthouse, at 218 East Lexington Street, Suite 401. The Resource Center will offer Baltimore crime victims such services as support groups, court accompaniment, pro bono legal services, information and assistance with victims’ rights, referrals for therapeutic counseling, faith-based referrals, VINE registration and speakers.

Roper, an advocate and activist for crime victims, founded the Stephanie Roper Committee and Foundation (which later became MCVRC), in 1982 after the murder of her daughter. She also successfully pushed for an amendment to the Maryland State Constitution for crime victims’ rights in 1994. Roper pointed out that 40 percent of crime in Maryland takes place in Baltimore City. “Currently we’re helping about four new victims per day,” she said. “We expect that to increase.”

“We think [the new office] will increase public confidence in the justice system,” she added.

Butler called the new satellite office “a very important next step in the advancement of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center.”

“We believe we are reflecting our nation’s American values of liberty and justice for all,” he added.

Maryland Delegate Neil Quinter, a member of the Resource Center’s pro bono panel, also spoke at the press conference, as did Theresa Baker, whose son was murdered in 1991. “It was one thing to become a victim, but to be victimized by the justice system was completely different,” said Baker, who was informed of the release of her son’s killer from prison just before the release took place.

“[The MCVRC] helped me in a big way to make sense out of this,” she added.

The Resource Center will raise funds for crime victims in need of help when it holds the Fourth Annual 5K Victims’ Fund Run and Walk on April 17 in Baltimore.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: April, 2004

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