Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 5, 2013

Spotlight on crime victims

NCVRW to include fairs, conference in Henderson County

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — It has been 32 years since President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Crime Victims Rights Week (NCVRW).

“We need a renewed emphasis on, and an enhanced sensitivity to, the rights of victims,” Reagan said. “These rights should be a central concern of those who participate in the criminal justice system, and it is time all of us paid greater heed to the plight of victims.”

The statement is still true today.

April 21, 2013 through April 27, 2013 has been designated NCVRW. The event  will include fairs across the county, a countywide proclamation signed by the mayor and a 2-day conference. Henderson County will host the first Crime Victims Conference of East Texas on April 25-26. The conference will be at Lake Athens Baptist Church.

According to the Henderson County District Attorney’s office, the conference will be a joint effort between the District Attorney's office, the Henderson County Attorney's office and the Henderson County Sheriff's Department. The three agencies will co-host the conference with the help of the Help and Child Advocacy Center, Texas Department of Public Safety-Victim Services and the U.S. Attorney's office-Eastern Division.

The Crime Victims Conference will bring together law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocates from 30 surrounding counties. The purpose of the conference is to provide training to anyone that works with victims.

Chuck and Judy Cox will travel to Athens from Washington State to speak at the conference. Their daughter, Susan Cox Powell, went missing in December, 2009, from Utah, and she has never been found. During the course of the investigation, her two children were removed from her husband's care.

Josh Powell, who was a person of interest in her disappearance, was her husband and father to her two children. In February, 2012, during the children's first supervised visit with their father, he locked the social worker out of the house, and allegedly murdered his two children, and then allegedly blew his home up. Susan Powell’s disappearance is still an open case. Chuck and Judy Cox have a compelling story to tell group attending the conference.

In addition to April being NCVRW, it is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. The District Attorney’s office will again this year promote Go Blue Day.