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OC crime victims speak out at annual march

April 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of crime victims and their loved ones joined forces Friday for the fourth annual victims' rights march in Santa Ana. This year, the victim of one of Orange County's most notorious cases spoke out for the first time.

"My name is Alisa. I'm speaking today because I am a survivor of sexual assault," she said to the crowd during the event.

It's been 10 years since three Orange County teenagers sexually assaulted her when she was 16. One of them was Greg Haidl, the son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl.

For so many years, the victim was known only as Jane Doe - but not anymore.

"Now that it's been 10 years, and I'm not ashamed of it anymore, and what happened to me, I'm ready to come out and use it to help others," she said.

But the day was not just about the victims of crimes. It was very much about the survivors.

"My biggest, main goal was to give other survivors hope ... to let them know that they, too, can be survivors, no matter what's happened to you, no matter how far down you've gone, you can still pull yourself out," Alisa said.

Sadly, this is a march that continues to grow year by year. Ron Thomas, father of the homeless man allegedly beaten to death by Fullerton police, participated for the first time.

"Everything is very fresh in our minds, it doesn't go away," Thomas said.

Other first timers include relatives of the victims in the Seal Beach salon shooting.

"I think we just want representation for my mom," said Chelsea Huff, whose mother, Michelle Fournier, was one of those gunned down.

But along with Huff was her younger brother, the 8-year-old boy who was at the heart of the custody battle believed to have triggered the mass shooting.

"He actually asked me if he could come, so I was like, 'Absolutely.' I want him to be involved if he wants to do it," Huff said.

Butch Fournier, the victim's brother, called it a simple decision to join the event, saying, "It's just something we needed to do as a family."

Survivors also came together for an evening awards banquet in Garden Grove.

Kim Goldman, the sister of Ronald Goldman, was honored for her work helping victims of crime, as was Errin Runnion, whose daughter, Samantha, was kidnapped and murdered in 2002.

Eyewitness News Orange County bureau chief Eileen Frere received an award for her work covering crime stories and other news impacting Orange County residents.


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