San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon honored survivors of heinous crimes in San Francisco this afternoon, and also recognized the strength of surviving family members, and the hard work of members of the criminal justice system, community groups and medical community at the Justice Awards ceremony.
The noon ceremony at the African American Arts and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton St. was part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and lauded the bravery and commitment to justice of victims and others involved in three different cases that were successfully prosecuted in 2012.
After receiving plaques from Gascon, two of three sexual assault victims spoke about facing their attacker, Frederick Dozier, 33, (pictured above) who was convicted last November of 25 of 26 charges in three separate attacks that occurred between June and December 2011 on the 24th Street corridor.
He was sentenced to 373 years in prison after he was convicted of kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual offense, sexual assault with the intent to commit rape, attempted rape and oral copulation by force, among other charges.
In each case, which occurred during the early morning hours, Dozier attacked the victim from behind, pulled her into a secluded area, punched and sexually assaulted her before taking her belongings.
Each of the victims testified during the trial, which the survivor of the first attack in June called a “nerve-wracking process.”
“Going up and testifying was very, very hard,” the woman said at the awards ceremony. The dark-haired woman was wearing black-rimmed glasses and a purple blouse.
The victims have chosen to remain unnamed.
Another survivor, a woman with short blonde curly hair and wearing a turquoise sweater, said following the attack she went to counseling for a full year, and the trial was another difficult part of the recovery process.
“It was very scary,” she said.
She thanked the Fair Oaks Community Coalition, which rallied behind her and the other attack victims after one of the incidents occurred near the Fair Oaks Street neighborhood.
The third victim could not attend today’s event, but she wrote a statement that was read out loud in which she thanked assistant district attorney Marshall Kline who prosecuted the case and also received an award, and she acknowledged the Fair Oaks community for supporting her emotionally and financially.
“Thanks to (Kline) for putting this monster in jail,” she said.
“Now the perpetrator will never victimize others.”
Coalition members Charles and Blair Moser, who live on Fair Oaks Street, said news of the attacks was shocking for the quiet family neighborhood known for their Halloween decorations and garage sales.
“It felt like an assault on us,” Blair Moser said.
The community group raised thousands of dollars that poured in from across the nation, such as a $2,500 donation from a Midwest group or the $1.65 given by a young San Francisco girl, Charles Moser said.
District attorney victim advocates, nurses, police inspectors, and trauma recovery center workers were also honored for their work in the case.
Gascon also presented awards to family members, police and district attorney’s office personnel that broke the cold-case murder of 24-year-old Annie Barcelon from 1981 and successfully convicted her murderer last fall.
Lance Ford, 56, was sentenced to the life without parole in October 2012 after he was convicted for the rape and killing of Barcelon.
Barcelon’s body was found in the basement of her apartment in the Parkmerced complex on Nov. 27, 1981. She had come home from a party and parked her car after which she was found strangled and raped.
Ford was identified as the suspect in the case through DNA recovered from the attack in 2004 and he was arrested in Oregon, where he was involved in an unrelated sexual assault case.
Barcelon’s surviving brother, Aaron Barcelon, said that every Thanksgiving he is reminded of his sister’s brutal death. More recently with the murderer in jail, he said he will finally be more at peace.
He said he thought the case would eventually dissipate, but police, including lead Inspector Kevin Silas, kept at it until a break in the case led to the perpetrator’s conviction 31 years later.
“You’ve got to have faith and stick it out,” he said.
The victim advocate on the case, Jean Hassett, said she was “impressed with his steadfast dedication” over the years, especially after Barcelon’s parents moved back to the Philippines and Aaron Barcelon was the key family member on the case.
A stalking case in which the perpetrator sent the victim, Meredith Crawford, thousands of emails, songs, poems, letters and ignored restraining orders for three years, was also recognized.
The stalker, Greg Hayes, was sentenced to 28 years in prison after Crawford filed 14 police reports over the years documenting his obsessive, aggressive and threatening behavior.
She credited her stalker’s prosecution to San Francisco police Inspector John Keane, who is part of the Police Department’s stalking task force.
“Keane was a godsend,” Crawford said, noting she was finally able to move on with her life after years of harassment.
Gascon highlighted the collaborative efforts of victims, police, his office and other city agencies to put dangerous people behind bars.
“Your willingness to step up to do the right things makes our city safer,” he told award recipients.
The District Attorney’s office expanded their victim services division last year, with more facilities throughout San Francisco. In 2012, 5,410 victims were served, according to Gascon.
“Today we celebrate tireless work and dedication to justice,” he said.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News