Mary Ann Kearns - [email protected]
Clarke and his staff receive the award for victim’s advocacy. -

The office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelly Clarke has been recognized for its service to victims with the Kentucky Distinction in Victim Services Award.

The award was presented by Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, a campaign championing constitutional rights for crime victims.

In the lead up to the November election, Marsy’s Law is launching a statewide Kentucky Distinction in Victim Services Award to recognize outstanding professionals in the criminal justice field – attorneys, advocates and law enforcement officers – who demonstrate a commitment to a victim-centered approach in their work.

Clarke’s office was nominated by Melissa Greenwell of the Women’s Crisis Center in Maysville.

“Working with survivors of crime, it is vitally important that we build relationships with our community partners, and work together to make certain that the rights of those we serve are protected,” Green well said. “Kelly, his assistants, and his victim’s advocate have always made themselves available to my staff and those that we serve and go above and beyond to make sure that they feel heard and have a voice. This is so important to a survivor in their healing process.”

Clarke said he was truly surprised when he received word that he and his staff were among the first to be recognized.

“I’m shocked. I didn’t have any idea” that the office had even been nominated, Clarke said.

He said his office has always made an effort to be victim centered and he credits victim’s advocate Mary Buser’s “amazingly hard work” for the success they have achieved.

“She has taken it up a notch. She is tireless,” Clarke said.

In addition to Clarke and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office of Maysville, other winners include Detective Anthony “Tony” Gipson of Louisville Metro Police Department, Special Victims Unit; Kathy Paulin, Mary Byron Project, Program Coordinator; Christy Burch, Hebron Women’s Crisis Center, Director of Prevention; and Amber Koenig, Louisville Metro Police Department, Detective – Victim’s Advocate.

“I am truly honored to present these awards. The nominations that we received were incredibly moving and contained a common thread,” said Ashlea Christiansen, Marsy’s Law for Kentucky state director. “These professionals are consistently willing to take the time out of their busy schedules to respond with compassion, kindness and respect. They listen, explain and allow survivors to feel heard and supported. This, in turn, has allowed survivors to heal.”

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky is accepting nominations for outstanding Kentucky public servants and will recognize them throughout the summer. Nominations may be submitted via a form on our Marsy’s Law for Kentucky Facebook page or by requesting a form at [email protected].

Kentucky is one of only 16 states without constitutional-level rights for victims of crime. If adopted by Kentucky voters this November, Marsy’s Law would amend the state’s constitution to ensure crime victims have the right to a voice in the judicial process, the right to be present in judicial hearings and the right to be made aware of upcoming hearings or changes in their offenders’ status.

Clarke and his staff receive the award for victim’s advocacy. and his staff receive the award for victim’s advocacy.

Mary Ann Kearns

[email protected]