Community comes together to support victims of sexual abuse

NORWICH – An evening of information and testimonials from the victims of sexual assault concluded with a march to the Chenango County Courthouse and a candlelight vigil during Thursday’s Take Back the Night rally.

The rally, held in the community room at Morrisville State college, began at 6 p.m. as Catholic Charities Rape Counselor Beth Neuland welcomed those in attendance and thanked the crowd for coming together to support the victims of sexual assault.

“Every two and a half minutes, a sexual assault occurs in this country,” Neuland said. “Sexual assaults are usually termed crimes of silence, but with Take Back the Night, tonight, that silence is broken.”

The evening’s events included an interfaith prayer by Pastor Tom Olsen, who read an excerpt from Psalm 55.

Norwich Police Department Sergeant Patrick Blenis addressed the crowd, discussing his history with the department and how sexual assaults are investigated. “I’ve been a police officer for 15 years in the City of Norwich. Three years I spent as an investigator, and in that time, I handled a fair amount of sexual assaults,” Blenis said. “We treat each case with as much professionalism as possible.”

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