A time for crime victims and their families

crime-victim-mothersSpeakers at a Wednesday gathering for National Crime Victims Rights’ Week praised those fighting violence and called for more public effort.

Dorothy Johnson-Speight, founder and executive director of Mothers in Charge from Philadelphia, praised the Kansas City chapter of the group of mothers of murdered children.

“It’s a terrible pain you never get over,” she said, but mothers work though it “to help save another child, to prevent another mother from getting the call you received.”

Remember, too, she told the crowd outside the Jackson County courthouse: “Anyone can be a victim.”

Her own son was murdered in 2001 in a senseless argument over a parking space, she said.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker noted that more than 15 people have died by homicide so far this year, each representing “a family that is grieving, that is in pain.”

They need help for justice, she said, and she said witnesses must be willing to testify.

Gene Porter, deputy U.S. attorney, presented an award to a Kansas City police detective, noting her work in the case of priest Shawn Ratigan, who is now in prison for child pornography.

Detective Maggie McGuire also drew his praise for her work in the case of Bishop Robert Finn, sentenced to two years probation for the misdemeanor of failing to report to police Ratigan’s pornographic photos of children.

McGuire also had to be deposed herself in criminal and civil cases by hostile lawyers for Finn and Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, he said, among other remarks critical of the diocese and Finn.

Porter called McGuire a “pit bull” as he gave her the Crystal Kipper & Ali Kemp Memorial Award for work protecting children from exploitation.

Roger Kemp, the father of Ali Kemp, who was murdered at a Leawood swimming pool by a predator, said, “We’re losing our children” and urged people not to stand for it.

“That wasn’t somebody else, that was someone who had dreams, hopes, aspirations and goals,” he said.

People need to pull together to stop it, he said. “…we can make that difference.”

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