CAC Recognizes Multi-Disciplinary Team Efforts

FULTON, NY – Members of the Child Advocacy Center’s Multi-Disciplinary Team were recently recognized at the agency’s annual meeting for their extraordinary investigative efforts.

Members of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County’s Multi-Disciplinary Team were recognized for their extraordinary investigative efforts with the CAC’s Best Multi Disciplinary Investigative Team Approach Award for 2015. Seated from left are CAC Mental Health Counselor Carol Gazitano and Child Protective Services Caseworker Missy Verdoliva. Standing from left are CAC Victim Advocate Rachel Muntz; Cheryl Martin-Schroeder, NP; Oswego County Sheriff’s Investigator Carm Rojek; and Margaret Fitzgibbons accepting the award for Oswego County Probation Officer Patti Elkin. Absent from the photo are Assistant District Attorney Allison O’Neill and Patti Elkin.
Members of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County’s Multi-Disciplinary Team were recognized for their extraordinary investigative efforts with the CAC’s Best Multi Disciplinary Investigative Team Approach Award for 2015. Seated from left are CAC Mental Health Counselor Carol Gazitano and Child Protective Services Caseworker Missy Verdoliva. Standing from left are CAC Victim Advocate Rachel Muntz; Cheryl Martin-Schroeder, NP; Oswego County Sheriff’s Investigator Carm Rojek; and Margaret Fitzgibbons accepting the award for Oswego County Probation Officer Patti Elkin. Absent from the photo are Assistant District Attorney Allison O’Neill and Patti Elkin.

Over the past year the CAC served 456 children, provided 3,111 therapy sessions, and forensically investigated more than 140 cases.

“Our MDT members conducted 142 forensic interviews and the victim advocates gave supports for civil and criminal justice matters and social and emotional support over 11,600 times,” said CAC Executive Director Karrie Damm. “These families need a lot of education, assistance, and support…and we are there to lend an ear or a hand whenever necessary.”

“While our MDT team does a remarkable job on each and every investigation, this group of exceptional individuals were recognized for their extraordinary efforts on a particularly troubling case that epitomized the degree of collaboration between MDT members and the positive results their work brings to the abuse victim and family. Their work resulted in a conviction that has placed a dangerous sexual offender behind bars,” added Damm.

Following an investigation, which included a successful forensic interview, it was found that a Richland husband and wife faced criminal charges for sexual assault of a child.

The husband had raped and sexually assaulted a child over the course of several years.

His wife, while aware of this sexual abuse, did not inform law enforcement.

The Multi-Disciplinary Team, consisting of Oswego County Assistant District Attorney Allison O’Neill, Oswego County Sheriff’s Investigator Carmen Rojek, Missy Verdoliva of Child Protective Services, CAC Victim Advocate Rachel Muntz, CAC Marriage and Family Therapist Carol Gazitano, Patti Elkin of the Oswego County Probation Department, and Cheryl Martin-Schroeder, NP, went into action working collaboratively to ensure the best outcome for the victim and her family.

The husband, who was charged with an array of felonies, was sentenced to eight years in prison with 20 years post release supervision and has to register as a sex offender.

When the prosecution was complete, the wife accepted a plea to endangering the welfare of a child.

The District Attorney’s Office recommended probation at the victim’s request, but she was sentenced to a fine.

“Our MDT team members clearly demonstrated the power of working collaboratively to ensure justice, victim safety, and assist the child and her family to begin healing from this trauma. Their response and MDT engagement with the CAC from the beginning was an extraordinary example of the best investigative team approach,” said Damm.

Comprised of a cross-section of law enforcement investigators, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, victim support professionals, the district attorney’s office, and other human services agencies, the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team maintains a well-coordinated, effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse.

Team members share pertinent information regarding the cases, and by following the CAC’s system for monitoring cases, take necessary steps to protect children, reduce the trauma to children and respective family members and pursue positive legal outcomes that meet the best interest of the child victim and their families.

“The Multi-Disciplinary Team enables us to offer a wide range of services to children who have been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused and their families. Its efforts allow us to maintain an effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse,” Damm said.

Located at 301 Beech St. in Fulton, with a satellite office at 4822 Salina St. in Pulaski, the CAC of Oswego County is a non-profit charitable organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children that are victims of sexual and physical abuse.

For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 315-592-4453.