Events- 2005

Campello Business Association supports
the Weed and Seed Initiative´s Work Express Program

November, 2005

At their November meeting, members of the Campello Business Association donated $795.00 to MainSpring House to support the Work Express program.  This donation will strengthen an existing partnership between Work Express and the Weed and Seed initiative.

The Weed and Seed grant, administered by the Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office, supports Work Express´ clean-up efforts in the grant´s Campello target area.  The target area was chosen because of its high incidence of crime.  Working with the city´s Department of Public Works, this new partnership between the Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office (Weed and Seed), Work Express, and the Campello Business Association will serve a number of purposes.

First, it supports the successful Work Express program, which gives homeless men the opportunity to learn the skills they need to become self-sufficient.   Second, it will take some of the city´s worst eye-sores and create cleaner living spaces for city residents.  By cleaning neglected lots, the Work Express crew will decrease the number of places in the city where crime can occur.  A lot on Temple Street has already been cleaned.  An additional 10 city-owned lots will be cleaned over the next twelve months.

Weed and Seed is a Department of Justice grant that weeds out drug and criminal activity while seeding the area with community programs and neighborhood restoration efforts.

District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz is sworn in
as President of the Massachusetts District Attorneys´ Association

November 17, 2005

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz was sworn in as President of the Massachusetts District Attorneys´ Association (MDAA) at the MDAA´s Boston office.   Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett was sworn in as the Vice- President of the MDAA.  District Attorney Cruz and District Attorney Blodgett will serve one year terms.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Conference

November 16, 2005

The Plymouth County V.E.T.O. hosted the Brockton Area Sexual Assault Response Team symposium on November 16, 2005.   The symposium was designed to share important information and the latest updates of the response to and care of survivors of sexual assault with other Brockton Area professionals.   The symposium attracted over 100 participants and was held at the Thorny Lea Golf Club.

Cell Phone Drive

October, 2005

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz sponsored a cell phone drive for the month of October.    Boxes were placed in all of the courts in Plymouth County as well as each of the local police departments.   Individuals dropped off their old phones in one of these boxes, and Verizon refurbished the phones.   The phones were programmed to call 911, and will have 3000 minutes available.   The phones were given to battered women who are in need of a phone to assist in securing their safety.

Domestic Violence Vigil in Brockton remembers the Victims

October 2, 2005

V.E.T.O. members and other community organizations sponsored a domestic violence vigil on October 2, 2005 in Brockton.

The sponsors included Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz, Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr., the Christ Congregational Church, Highpoint Treatment Center, Brockton Family and Community Resources, South Shore Women´s Resource Center, Womansplace Crisis Center, Project Faith, Action and Community Education in Brockton.

One of the speakers at the event was Reverend Rachel Keefe, from the United Church of Christ.   She spoke about surviving domestic violence.   Reverend Keefe told the group that she survived domestic violence and is now working to help others.   Reverend Keefe told the group that she endured domestic violence as a child and then verbal threats from her husband of more than two years.   "My family was complacent in that you don´t talk about it, nobody talked about it".   Reverend Keefe further stated that in order to survive she needed to get help.

Reverend Keefe was one of a dozen people who took part in the interfaith service that was held at the Christ Congregation Church on Pleasant Street in Brockton.   The vigil was to mourn those who have died and honor those who have survived domestic violence.

Some of those in attendance stood to name the local victims that had been killed in previous years, including Cheryl A. Wilson, who was killed in 1995 by her estranged husband Brockton Police Officer Curtis Wilson.

Ruth Zakarin, Director of Domestic Violence Services at Brockton Family and Community Resources spoke to the attendees urging the community to become intolerant of domestic violence.   She stated that Brockton Family and Community Resources provide services to up to one hundred women per month.   She maintained that the problem is not going away.   The violence that is being perpetrated has increased in its severity.   "Women have lost their hearing as a result of the beatings, and children have been injured trying to defend their mothers".   Public awareness has increased reporting, but more still needs to be done.

Domestic violence is an issue that continues to plague many homes and families.   According to the most recent report by Peace at Home, a Human Rights organization in Boston, there was sixteen domestic violence homicides in Massachusetts from October, 2004 through September 2005.   The number of homicides in Massachusetts has not changed substantially in the past ten years.   While services for domestic violence increased during the 1990´s, budgetary cuts and level funding have impacted on local agencies in recent years.   Some organizations have had to cut back on staffing, but continue to provide the same services, fewer staff, with an increase in individuals seeking services.   The need for community support and societal change continues.   Through continued efforts and strategies, advocates and community leaders continue to strive to educate the community about domestic violence and give voice to all of the victims and survivors.

The Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office receives
the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant

September 30, 2005

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz announced that his office has received a federal grant in the amount of $205,847.00 from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG).  The Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office will act as fiscal agent for this grant and will distribute award funds to the local communities which were chosen by the U.S. Department of Justice based on reported crime statistics.

District Attorney Cruz personally presented checks to the Police Chiefs of Abington, Brockton, Plymouth, Rockland and Wareham.  These JAG funds will be used for local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice in one or more of the following purpose areas: law enforcement programs, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections programs, drug treatment programs, and planning, evaluation and technology programs.

The Abington Police Department will receive $15,063.00 in JAG funding to purchase equipment that will enhance their crime scene services and improve technology capabilities.   Abington will also use funds to conduct a youth interaction program focusing on community cohesion and prevention.

The Brockton Police Department will receive $86,950.00 in JAG funding to purchase equipment necessary to conduct surveillance for prevention and prosecution purposes.   Brockton will also purchase supplies to upgrade and maintain their community policing program, and provide trainings for these officers.   Brockton will use remaining funds for contractual support for evaluation purposes, using Kelley Research Associates, as well as for prevention efforts in overtime ride-alongs.

The Plymouth Police Department will receive $48,100.00 in JAG funding to upgrade their technology capabilities.

The Rockland Police Department will receive $16,650.00 in JAG funding to upgrade their information and communication systems.  Rockland will also utilize funds for contractual support, conducting community police ride-along nights.

The Wareham Police Department will receive $18,500.00 in JAG funding to purchase items needed to enhance information and communications systems, as well as items that will provide technological assistance.

District Attorney Cruz stated, "We are happy to be able to get this much needed funding into the hands of our local law enforcement partners.  These funds will help them provide for technology, research and crime prevention programs."

The White Ribbon Campaign presents:
"Voices of Men," at Norwell High School

September 26, 2005

On September 26, 2005, Ben Atherton Zeman, nationally recognized activist and presenter, came to Norwell High School to present his one man play, "Voices of Men".

Ben Atherton Zeman is the spokesman for the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, and has presented his one man play in over 29 states.   Mr. Atherton-Zeman has received numerous awards for his work, and is praised for his insight and dedication in working with young men to change their sexist views about women.

On September 26, Mr. Atherton Zeman presented his one man play to a full auditorium of Norwell High School students.   He opened the program by proclaiming himself to be a "recovering sexist" and then began to demonstrate to the audience the various ways in which men do not respect women and what they can do about it.

Mr. Atherton Zeman challenged the students by stating that they have the ability to change societal norms, they do not have to condone violence against women, and that they can be instrumental in effecting change.

Mr. Atherton Zeman stressed that the domestic violence and sexual assault movements do not have to be comprised of women only, the issue impacts on us all.   Tolerance of male violence against women in essence promotes the violence, whereas if men take a stand to challenge the old beliefs systems, they can create positive change.

One of the highlights of the play depicted the importance of listening to your partner.   Mr. Atherton-Zeman acted out a scene from Rocky that demonstrated how Rocky did not listen to Adrienne when she said no, and now Adrienne wants to break up with him.   Through acting and impressions Mr. Atherton-Zeman explained the implications of Rocky´s actions.

Mr. Atherton Zeman acted out three scenes.   The scenes were poignant, yet filled with humor.   The topics, while serious, were discussed in a manner that engaged the high school students.   The program was fast paced, and touched upon the various ways that violence is perpetrated against women.   The play also demonstrated through acting and celebrity male voice impressions how young men can change their behaviors and strive to end sexist ideology.

Each of the three male characters that Mr. Atherton Zeman characterized was forced to deal with the issues of sexual assault and consent, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual harassment and objectifying women.   Through humor and impressions, Mr. Atherton Zeman was able to engage the audience and minimize the likelihood of male defensiveness.   He was able to encourage the audience that they are not only part of the problem, if they maintain the sexist ideology, but they have the opportunity to be part of the solution.   The process that each male character goes through is one of self reflection and understanding that they have the ability to change.

Mr. Atherton Zeman discussed how young men can take an effective role in changing abusive and controlling behaviors.   He stressed that the majority of men are not abusive and controlling and do not perpetrate violence against women.   "We need to stand up with the women in the movement and make it our issue too.   Women should not have to do all of the hard work.   Men need to take a stand against male violence against women.   Men who do not use violence against women are in the majority, we need to use our voices".

The program concluded with Mr. Atherton-Zeman asking the males in the audience to take a pledge to live a life free from violence against women, and work towards creating change and regarding their attitudes about women and violence.   The men in audience took the pledge and many of the males in audience then went to the front of the auditorium to receive a white ribbon.

The white ribbon symbolizes the commitment made by men to work towards ending violence against women, and telling other men that they will not condone their violence.

For more information about Ben Atherton-Zeman or to schedule a presentation, you may contact him at 978-263-3254 or go online to

District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz to awards a grant
to Bridgewater State University

August 31, 2005

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz presented a check to Bridgewater State University in the amount of $6,800.00.  This funding came from the Executive Office of Public Safety, and is part of the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG).  The majority of this funding has been used to assist designated towns in developing strategies to address the "risk and protective factors" within each town.  For Bridgewater State, the money goes to support the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) to support the university´s work with the school systems of Plymouth County.

The Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office is proud to be partnering with MARC at Bridgewater State University.  The goals of this partnership, formed in 2004, are to:
  • Education K12 faculty, guidance counselors, and administrators about the causes of aggression behavior in children

  • Disseminate current research findings in the area in a speedy and comprehensive manner

  • Provide law enforcement, K12 faculty, and school personnel with the knowledge and understanding to cope with aggression in the schools including conflict resolution, anger management, and behavior techniques.
MARC provides free and low-cost services to K12 schools in Massachusetts in the area of childhood aggression.  A comprehensive, prevention based anti-bullying program is offered, as well as other services including conferences and workshops, specialized teacher training, presentations, technical assistance in program development, and aid in understanding and coping with disorders in children that lead to aggression, acting out and violent behavior.

District Attorney Cruz stated, "This office is grateful for the continued support of Bridgewater State University, and looks forward to future endeavors that strive to better the lives of the youth in Plymouth County".

"Bridgewater State College is both honored and excited to receive this grant.  MARC is a wonderful example of how our institution can carry out its public mission in an innovative new way.  This new investment will allow us to enhance the level of service we offer to school systems throughout Plymouth County and the Commonwealth," said Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, President of Bridgewater State University.

Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office
sponsors an End of Summer Festival

August 29, 2005

An End of Summer 2005 Festival, sponsored by the Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office Weed and Seed Initiative, was held at the Crescent Court Housing Development on Plymouth Street in Brockton.  The event was an opportunity for city residents to celebrate a summer of successful youth programming through the Brockton After Dark initiative, as well as a recent funding award from the Department of Justice for additional Weed and Seed projects in a new Campello target area.

During July and August, Brockton After Dark offered teens, ages 13-19 years old, a safe place with structured activities and the supervision of a caring adult.  During the evening hours on week nights, teens participated in basketball, performing arts, open swim, tennis, soccer, and an open mike night at no cost.  Integral to the program´s operation was the on-going and consistent presence of police officers at all evening activities.  This year, over 400 youth registered for the program.

The Weed and Seed Initiative has been at the forefront of creating alternatives to criminal activity by supporting community prevention efforts and enhancing key law enforcement partnerships.  Weed and Seed is a Department of Justice community-based initiative that encompasses an innovative and comprehensive multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization.  In 1999, Brockton received its first official recognition as a Weed and Seed site.  This recognition allowed for the placement of additional police on the streets, supported youth programming, and assisted neighborhood clean-up efforts.  After five years of rewarding work in the Downtown Target Area, Brockton received a second recognition for a new Campello site and was awarded funding from the Department of Justice to make these neighborhoods a safer place for residents to live, work and grow.

National Crime Victim´s Rights Week

April 10-16, 2005

Victims Rights Fairs were held at both the Hanover and Kingston Malls.   Local victim rights agencies, including area police departments, attended the event by placing resource and information on tables to assist victims of crime.   Both events were well attended, with many shoppers stopping to take note of the event and read the material offered.   All of the participating agencies had a table with information and brochures highlighting the programs that they offer.

The District Attorney´s Office created bookmarks that were distributed to stores in the mall and were given out to customers.   The bookmarks contained local resources and phone numbers.   The sheriff´s department offered finger printing for children, and South Shore Women´s Resource Center displayed the Clothesline Project.

Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office
166 Main Street
Brockton, MA 02301