BY MARK MUELLER (THE STAR LEDGER)
Published: April 7, 2014
An advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse and a prosecutor who handled one of Essex County’s most high-profile murder cases will be recognized Wednesday by the state attorney general for their service to crime victims.
Mark Crawford, the New Jersey director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and Romesh Sukhdeo, an assistant prosecutor in Essex County, will receive awards during a morning ceremony at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton.
“Through their relentless efforts, the men being honored at this week’s ceremony change the landscape every day within their own communities and throughout New Jersey,” acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement today.
The awards, the first of their kind bestowed by the attorney general’s office, coincide with Crime Victims’ Rights Week and the 30th anniversary of the Victims of Crimes Act.
Crawford, who was abused as a child by his parish priest, will receive the Ronald W. Reagan Award. He was nominated by state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who said Crawford tirelessly listens to and educates abuse victims from across New Jersey and beyond.
Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo, seen here in court in 2012, will be honored by the Attorney General’s Office for his work helping victims of violent crime.John O’Boyle/The Star-Ledger
“Because of Mark’s efforts, many individuals, after living in years of silence and shame, learned of their predators’ crimes and came forward themselves, finally getting help and holding their offender accountable,” Vitale said.
Sukhdeo, who will receive the Gladiator Award, served on the prosecution team that won convictions in the 2007 murders of three college-age friends in a Newark schoolyard. A fourth person was seriously injured. Sukhdeo was an invaluable help to family members of the victims throughout the process, said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Gwendolyn Williams, who nominated him.
“When victim survivor family members had issues with their employers, he didn’t hesitate to assist them so they could be present at each stage of the court proceedings.” Williams said. “All defendants were either found guilty at trial or pled guilty. Whenever the victim survivors have vigils celebrating the life of their loved one, Mr. Sukhdeo is present.”