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Air Force sexual assault response coordinator earns Federal Service Award

  • Published
Dr. Charlotte Moerbe, the Joint Base San Antonio sexual assault response coordinator, was recognized for outstanding work on behalf of crime victims by Department of Justice officials April 8 during the National Crime Victims' Service Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Moerbe received one of two Federal Service Awards presented. The award honors a federal employee for his or her direct service to victims of crime from all areas governed by federal jurisdiction, such as military installations, or requiring federal intervention.  The other award was presented to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

"There are so many people I owe a debt of gratitude to for this," Dr. Moerbe said. "This is not just my award. I share it with leadership, victims and advocates. I wish they all could benefit from it."

The service award acknowledges Dr. Moerbe for supporting several hundred military members recovering from sexual violence.  Coincidentally, the presentation also happens to fall during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

In 2004, Dr. Moerbe created the Lackland Air Force Base Sexual Assault Prevention and Outreach program. Now a part of JBSA, SAPO has grown into the largest sexual assault response and training program in the Air Force.

She also has developed two additional volunteer trainer programs. The SAPO Representative Program includes more than 180 military personnel who provide sexual assault awareness and education for the general Lackland AFB population, and a second volunteer pool works primarily with the student population.

"It's the people and team around you that keep you going," Dr. Moerbe said.

There were five other individuals and three organizations recognized in three other categories. The ceremony included a 2-minute video on each of the honorees, who had the opportunity to interact together before the presentation.

"Mine was a wonderful clip that highlighted the military," she said. "(All of the videos) were all very powerful. There were so many interesting people."

Attorney General Eric Holder presided over the awards luncheon and described the impact the recipients had made for crime victims.

"Each of the leaders, legal advocates, public servants and concerned citizens here today are part of a powerful, national movement, one that inspired the passage of the historic 1984 Victims of Crime Act that created the Crime Victims Fund, as well as the 1994 crime bill and the Violence Against Women Act," the attorney general said.

"We commend these individuals and service providers who, when faced with emerging challenges, seek out new ways to protect our communities, and to more effectively assist and empower crime victims."

The award recipients were nominated by their colleagues in the victim service and criminal justice fields. They were recognized for their courageous responses in the aftermath of a crime; their professional efforts to better serve the needs of victims of human trafficking, identity theft and elder abuse; and their assurance that victims receive the compensation and other services available to them at the state and local level.

The Attorney General's Annual Victims' Service Awards were presented as a prelude to National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which concluded April 9. The theme, "Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past," highlighted the importance of crime victims' rights and recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to this effort.

"Today's Justice Department is working with medical and law enforcement professionals, service providers and crime victim advocates to reach those victims most in need of help," Mr. Holder said. "We're also evolving to meet new challenges and emerging threats. As criminals adapt to an inter-connected world, in partnership with law enforcement, we are working hard to serve victims of youth violence, cybercrime, identify theft, human trafficking and fraud."