New “Beacon for Protecting Civil Rights” and Special Victims in Maryland

Year-long needs assessment at the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office culminates in appointment of three individuals to Co-Chiefs and Deputy Chief of new Civil Rights and Special Victims Section.

U.S. Attorney Erek Barron marks the 1-year anniversary of his appointment with this announcement where he expounded on the significance of the move.

‘This section will be a beacon for protecting civil rights and addressing victim-related crimes requiring specialized skills,’ said Erek L. Barron, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.  ‘Sarah Marquardt, Paul Budlow, and Charles Austin will lead a team of prosecutors, legal professionals, and investigators that represent the office’s best,’ said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron.

According to the press release, a major focus of the section will be to enforce federally protected civil rights and criminal civil rights. The former will encompass hate crimes, housing discrimination and voter suppression to name just a few examples, while the latter will focus on criminal activity around child exploitation, human trafficking, and identity theft.

The special victims component will continue serving statistically vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and disabled. The announcement went on to highlight an ongoing effort to protect older adults via the Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force and “prosecuting foreign-based fraud schemes that target seniors, including “grandparent scams,” romance scams, and advance-fee scams.”

Read the full DOJ press release.