PAC emerges… and endorses Lunsford

Local citizens recently formed a political action committee dedicated to the rights of crime victims, and less than two weeks before the November 6 election, have made an endorsement in the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney race.

Crime Victims United of Virginia members include downtown businesswoman Joan Fenton (right), who served as chair of the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review and was a City Council candidate in 2002; former Albemarle police officer Karl Mansoor (left), who sued the county in 2000, claiming his free speech rights had been violated when he was ordered to stop criticizing the county; Tim Heaphy, a former federal prosecutor; Roger Mathias, a retired Albemarle cop; and Liz Seccuro, victim of a 1984 rape in a UVA fraternity that became known nationally as the "12-step rape" when her assailant, William Beebe, sent her an apology in 2005.

In endorsing Democrat Denise Lunsford for Albemarle's top prosecutor, Mansoor called the commonwealth's attorney "the most critical" election for crime victims.

Fenton says Crime Victims is bipartisan, and she cites a "culture of fear" in this community. "When I've asked for money, a number of people want to, but don't want to be named," she says.

"I sense a similar culture of fear in the police department," says Mansoor. He says he's talked to former colleagues who say they're dissatisfied with Camblos, but tell him, "I still have to work with the guy."

"I have the endorsement of the Albemarle County Law Enforcement Association, which my opponent asked for," says Camblos. "I have the endorsement of 100 police officers who work with victims daily. I have the endorsement of 1,000 voters in Albemarle County."

Camblos calls the PAC's move "basically an endorsement by five people." He notes that one lives in Connecticut, one lives in the city and is very "liberal," one has had problems with the county police for years, and another has been at every Denise Lunsford public appearance. "So," he asks, "do I think it's nonpartisan?"

The group announced its formation in an October 10 press release and asked the two commonwealth's attorney candidates to respond to a questionnaire by October 25.

"I wasn't going to do anything because I didn't think they were a legal group," says Camblos. He says the group wasn't registered with the State Board of Elections October 23, but he found out they were October 24. The Virginia Public Access Project lists the group as registered October 9.

Camblos also questions why the Albemarle commonwealth's attorney race was the only one the PAC focused on, noting that there are two other prosecutor races in the 16th Circuit, of which Albemarle is a part.

Fenton says the group plans to look at other races in the future– and to use the CVUV website to track the performance of whoever is elected.

21 comments

Crime Victims, I have a real bad feeling about the video on your site. I know what police agencies are capable of. I'm sure Mathias and Mansoor know to watch their backs now.

Great, Seccuro back in the local media. Did she move here?

Our family has been victimized by petty crimes. I do feel for those who have been seriously impacted by serious crimes and then mistreated or disrespected by those elected and appointed to represent the people.

Our family has twice been victim to cancer. That is certainly a tough road to travel and I do feel for all those families who have fought that fight and especially for those who lost the fight.

The worst thing that has happened to our family, though, was feeling victimized by Mr. Camblos. Dishonor and disrespect by a person who wields such awesome power was devastating beyond comprehension. I've been told that Mr. Camblos once said "I AM the law". Having seen what I've seen, it is my opinion that the people of Albemarle County deserve and desire better. It is my opinion that 16 years in such a position of authority accrues a very unhealthy level of influence over the people's system of justice. I see that it is time for a change. I do want and deserve better.

I get one vote. I think Ms. Lunsford is a highly qualified, extremely capable and very honorable candidate. I've never voted for a Democrat before, but she will certainly get my vote next Tuesday.

Fred, you're not really voting for a Democrat. You're voting for the person the Replublicans didn't nominate as their choice of candidates to run for the office. That's all.

Alison, wheat I meant by "the victim cannot publicly reveal what was said" is that most victims fear retribution, either in the form of libel or slander lawsuits, or false and misleading innuendo being leaked to the media. No victim has control over what the media prints.There was a case in Williamsburg last year involving two students - one accused the other of rape. The male student came from a prestigious area family - father was a lawyer. They "trashed" the girl in the press, and the case was dropped.

The case Fred speaks of devastated three good families. It also caused a ripple effect in the community for many classmates and friends and contributed to a very real "culture of fear". I hope that everyone who witnessed that case will get out to vote for Denise Lunsford next week. Mr. Camblos may believe he runs this community but those of us who vote have a chance to show him that arrogance and incompetence have a price.

Where are the names of the 1,000 Albemarle County citizens who have endorsed Camblos?

I would hope that some people who have actually dealt with Camblos & Staff leave replies. Lunsford has tried to put the issues on the table while protecting the privacy of crime victims who have confided in her.

I have sent 3 letters to the Daily Progress to support Lunsford, but they won't print any of my letters. The Average Joe who reads the paper will see numerous letters of support for Camblos and one or two for Lunsford - and unless they are informed, they will perceive Camblos to be the preferred choice.

Camblos has referred to my daughter's rape case publicly, yet he has never spoken with my daughter or me. He gives the impression that he is well versed in her case, but he is not. His comments in the Progress were; "I think we've handled them properly. I think we've handled them professionally. I think we've handled them with dignity." He should not think - he should KNOW! Mr Camblos, if you read this, please do call me. Your staff made a grievous error in judgement and spoke to my daughter in a demeaning, disrespectful, and unprofessional manner. I am sure that your staff member did not tell you about the inappropriate comments he made to my daughter, but I will. Your staff member knew that the police report contained false and misleading statements, yet he used them as the basis for his decisions. I have viewed your website and note that the UVA Police Officer who mishandled the rape investigation is on your list of supporters, but she should be on a list of suspended officers.

I sent a letter to (then) Lt Gov Kaine to ask for help with my daughter's case, and he recommended I report the comments made to her (by Camblos' staff) to the Bar. If I had taken his advice, this race might not be so close and more importantly, the man who raped my daughter might not have had the opportunity to rape another young girl before he graduated from UVA.

I support Denise Lunsford.

Susan Russell
www.uvavictimsofrape.com

I'm sorry, my mistake, I thought this was supposed to be a discussion, not playground taunts.

OK, Alison, is it ok for a candidate to discuss a case when they have not discussed the case with the victim?

This is an interesting topic -- the victim cannot publicly reveal what was said, and the candidate cannot acknowledge that anything was said. There must be a way for us to discuss the issue - which I believe is the way victims are treated - by allowing the victims to come forward and say what they experienced without fear of retribution.

Susan, the playground taunts to which I was referring were calling folks nutjobs, nothing to do with your comment. Sorry for any confusion.

In answer to your question, no, that doesn't sound right to me. I don't understand why the victim is not allowed to reveal what was said. Or do you mean that they would have to sacrifice their confidentiality to do so? Of course rape victims don't have much confidentiality in Virginia compared to other states if they choose to press charges and find someone willing to prosecute. In many/most states, a rape victims medical and psychiatric records are not available to the defense attorney unless the defense can show a very good reason that they are relevant, in Virginia, medical and psychiatric records are routinely given to defense attorneys representing rape victims, leading to reduced charges or lack of charges altogether or not guilty findings based on jury prejudice towards people with psychiatric disabilities.

Not that this is the case for the victim you are referencing, but another aspect of the confidentiality issue.

Discussion of this story-- okay. Calling people "nutjobs"-- not okay.

why are comments not appearing? test

quote.... "the UVA Police Officer who mishandled the rape investigation is on your list of supporters, but she should be on a list of suspended officers."

And there's a few who should have been fired years ago. Well, on second thought, one was. And later rehired to the amazement of the entire county. People still scratch their heads over that!

Please view our ad and check out our endorsement of Lunsford at our website

www.cvuv.org

I agree Not Impressed

The ACPD tried to squelch Mansoor. He sued and won. Camblos seems to think the rights of free speech can be violated without recourse.

Now, having said that, what the HELL is Securro's problem?? Her case was in CITY court, and I know for a fact that they did everything possible to satisfy her. She IS a friggin nut.

My main problem with Camblos though is the impression I get every time I see him that he thinks "I'm better than you". I am sick of this patrician crap....from ANY party. The City has their fair share of patrician jackass democrats also.

Lunsford has always been quite cordial and very intelligent in my dealings with her, never engaging in any of the over the top antics of other attorneys such as Wyatt.

It's really sad to see Camblos sink so low as to say Mansoor has had problems with the county police for years. The correct statement is Mansoor had several grievances with the Albemarle County Police Department administration and chain of command and prevailed in his claims and lawsuits against them. The way Camblos worded the above would lead one to believe Mansoor is a hardened criminal of some type. Shame on YOU, Jim!

Kathy: It's not like she's back in the local media because she wants to be. The rapist brought the crime back to the forfront with his letter of apology. Besides, isn't this article about Lusford's campaign against that Camblos nut job? What does Seccuro being back in the media have to do with that?

It's not like she's back in the local media because she wants to be

That is quite funny, yes Camblos is a nut job but so is Ms. Seccuro, or have you not been paying attention to the past 2 years

I've heard from at least a dozen or more people who say their names appeared in the newspaper as supporters of Camblos WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION and they will not be voting for Camblos and do NOT support him and are angry that he would do such a thing without their permission. How dare he use their names? I've also heard Camblos make statements that the only complaint he's ever heard about his office and his competence was from Lunsford. That just goes to show you how completely removed from reality Camblos really is and how out of touch he is with the voters.