Albany County held its annual crime victim "Ceremony of Remembrance" today.
Every April since 1981, communities across the nation have come together to honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Jennifer McCanney is a Senior Assistant DA working in the Special Victims Unit at the Albany County District Attorney's office."This year the theme for Crime Victims’ Rights Week is ‘Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims.’ Many here will tell you the circle of victimization is one no one deserves to be in. No one anticipates being a part of this circle, and nothing can quite prepare you for it. Yet here, in this room, we stand with survivors, family, friends and loved ones. We stand together with law enforcement, victim advocates, dignitaries and guests."
Opening remarks were followed by the traditional reading of the anti-drunk driving poem "Death of an Innocent.”
Two crime victim survivors took the podium: Dorie Giovannetti was victimized by an Albany chiropractor convicted of sexually abusing his patients. "I can tell you honestly, as a registered professional nurse of almost 30 years, I would not be standing before all of you today. I think I may have chosen to run, to hide, and maybe taken another route. It was they very, that painful, and turned my life in a direction I had never, ever imagined could happen."
Giovannetti thanked the law enforcement personnel who stood by her in her darkest hour.
Tom Stock shared his journey after losing his sister to a repeat drunk driver. The “Amy Stock Memorial” was parked outside of the courthouse. It shows the devastating effects of drunk driving. "It has her twisted wreck of her car inside the trailer with a video and graphics that really speaks to paying attention while you're driving and not to drink and drive. So it travels around to schools, high schools, colleges, civic functions, state fairs all over New York state to promote the anti-drunk driving rule map."
On July 19, 2015, Amy Stock, was killed by a drunk driver. She was an innocent victim driving home from an evening of babysitting. The man who killed her was traveling 65mph down an Albany city street when he ran a stop sign and hit Amy’s car. His blood alcohol level of .27, more than three times the legal limit. The drunk driver was charged and convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and will be spending 8-24 years in state prison.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares presented victim advocacy awards to law officers involved in prominent local cases. "Every year this circle expands, unfortunately, and we add new words to our vocabulary. This year we added new language. Words like 'Niko Strong' and 'prayers for Niko.' We sadly expand the circle to more families struck by tragedy and pain. Families like the Seabrons, who lost a father and a family leader. Families like the Ahearns, the Martinezes, the Countermines and the Cunninghams and so many others who have become part of this circle."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, relatives of deceased victims were given flags with their loved ones' names written on them. The flags will eventually go on display at the Crime Victims’ Memorial in Academy Park, across from the capitol.