Bells ring and symposium held for National Crime Victims Rights' Week - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bells ring and symposium held for National Crime Victims Rights' Week

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April 16, 2008

Albany-  Downtown Albany residents had a ringing reminder Wednesday that this week is National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

Noon-time church chimes were in honor of crime victims. In the last three month, there have been 874 crime victims in Albany and Dougherty County. Among the victims 276 were domestic violence victims, 20 family members were affected by several homicides, and 38 were victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Dougherty County has more than 200 registered sex offenders, Wednesday as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week the community learned more about them.

Darton College hosted a symposium titled "Sex offender, their victims, and the Justice System's Response". Students heard from Assistant District Attorney Christopher Cohilas about some of the offenders living in the community.

Lt. Rebecca Williamson of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office said the community often has the wrong idea about these offenders.

"Most people have a common wide spread fear when they hear the words sex offender. In Dougherty County, we have some good news and some bad news we have about 262 or more sex offenders on our registry, but only one who is classified as a predator," said Lt. Rebecca Williamson, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

The most difficult part of a sex crime is often getting the victims to come forward and report the offense.

Both the District Attorney's Office and Dougherty County Sheriff's Office encouraged victims to come forward.

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