Former federal prosecutor Mary Lou Leary took over this week as executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for crime victims. Leary succeeded Susan Herman, who moved to New York City with her husband Jeremy Travis, the new president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Leary, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, also had served as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, which includes the federal Office for Victims of Crime.
One of Leary’s major tasks next year will be to run the victims organization’s first national conference, which is being held to mark the group’s 20th anniversary. The event, scheduled for June 20-22 in Washington, D.C., will cover a broad range of crime victim issues. Other major activities include a stalking resource center that it drafting a model statute on stalking, and services for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The center plans an initiative that will help 9/11 victims and their families in the Virginia area “build personal resiliency,” Leary said. The center hopes to involve first responders and community members.