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Justice for Children

Two youth officials endorse Durin Rogers for full-time Batavia City Court judgeship

By Billie Owens

Photo above: Part-time Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers and Theresa Asmus-Roth, coordinator of Justice for Children Program.

Submitted photos and press release:

Theresa Asmus-Roth and Captain James C. Davis have added their names to the list of those endorsing Durin Rogers, a part-time Batavia City Court judge who is seeking election as the court's next full-time judge.

Asmuth-Roth is coordinator of Genesee County’s Justice for Children Program; Davis is coordinator of the County’s S.T.A.R. Program.

The Justice for Children Program is the Genesee County Agency that advocates for and give services to local children who have been victims of abuse or witnesses to violent acts, while the S.T.A.R. (Student Transition and Recovery) Program addresses the needs of local students who are facing school discipline or removal from their homes.

“I have worked with Judge Rogers in his role with the Genesee County Attorney’s Office as a part of the Justice for Children CORE team since my career in victim advocacy began in 2001," said Asmus-Roth, highlighting her experience with Rogers over the past 18 years.

"This has given me the opportunity to witness his dedication to child victims of abuse and view him as an experienced, thoughtful, and passionate legal professional."

She continued: “The Batavia City Court judge fills a crucial role in this community; a role that balances the constitutional and legal rights of a defendant against safety and justice for crime victims and the community as a whole… Judge Rogers’ decades of experience as a defense attorney, prosecutor, corporate counsel, and Judge have equipped him to excel in this position. It is with that in mind that I endorse Judge Durin Rogers for full-time city court judge.” 

Davis commended Rogers’ efforts in working with Family Court Judge Eric Adams in bringing the S.T.A.R. Program to Genesee County. He also praised Rogers’ ongoing support of the program since its inception as reasons for his endorsement.

“In my dealings with Judge Rogers…his knowledge of family matters within the court system has proved beneficial and supportive to the Genesee County S.T.A.R Program’s success,” Davis said. “I have personally learned and benefited from Judge Rogers’ knowledge of the law and his extraordinary ability to deal with and relate to ALL individuals

"We fully endorse his candidacy…I have no doubt that [Rogers] will be welcomed as your Batavia City Court judge and will serve the legal system and the City of Batavia with integrity and honor.” 

Rogers said “I have truly enjoyed working with Theresa and Captain Davis over the years. They are true professionals and have devoted their careers to protecting and assisting children in our community. I am proud to work with them and have their support and endorsement.”

Photo below: Captain James Davis of the S.T.A.R Program, part-time Batavia City Court Judge Durin Rogers, and Sgt. Robert Ettinger, S.T.A.R Program.

Video: Open house for renovated Child Advocacy Center

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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The Child Advocacy Center has completed phase I of its $250,000 renovation project and on Thursday held an open house, which was attended by Rep. Chris Collins.

Child Advocacy Center receives $16K forensic camera with donation from Chapin golf tournament

By Howard B. Owens


The Child Advocacy Center in Batavia has a new forensic camera that cost about $16,000 thanks to the generosity of the folks at Chapin Industries.

Every year, Chapin hosts a golf tournament and proceeds from the tournament go a local charity. Last summer's tournament was a fundraiser for the CAC.

Justice for Children/Child Advocacy Center is a government program but it is entirely funded by grants and donations. Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children, said the camera is more advanced than what the center could normally get through grant programs so the donation was most welcome.

The camera is able to take higher resolution photos to document evidence of physical and sexual abuse, which may not be apparent with a standard camera.

The center is also undergoing a major renovation. The renovations will cost about $250,000 and Sheriff William Sheron said there is a possible funding shortfall of $50,000. He's asking members of the community to step up and help fill that gap. To donate visit

Photo: Bill Kegler, Sheriff William Sheron, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Norm Hubbard, and Ian Weatherbee.

Justice for Children seeks renovation of Child Advocacy Center to make it a more comfortable place

By Howard B. Owens

The Child Advocacy Center should be a place where children who have been physically and sexually abused feel safe and cared for when they visit.

That means the center needs to have a home-like feeling, not a clinical atmosphere, said Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

While that has always been the goal of the center, Asmus-Roth said she and the staff and the board of directors think it's time to renovate their office location at 301 E. Main St., Batavia, to help make the center more friendly and welcoming.

"We want this environment to feel like the kind of place that you would go to get away from all the worries of the world," Asmus-Roth said during an open house Wednesday unveiling plans to remodel the building.

The First Presbyterian Church of Batavia donates the two-story building to Justice for Children and the agency, supported by grants and donations, has a long-term lease.

When it became clear a few years ago that the center's old location on Bank Street was no longer adequate, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia took on the major financial goal over five years of raising funds to support the center's move to a new building. When the Presbyterian church made its building available, the center moved into the new location and decided to forego building a new structure. The Kiwanis Club raised $190,000, which will go a long way to covering the cost of the more than $250,000 in renovations to the current location.

Asmus-Roth said the Justice for Children Foundation is seeking additional donations from the community in order to complete the project.

The renovations will first create all new office space on the second floor. That will enable the first floor to be dedicated entirely to caring for children and their families in times of crisis.

"We want families coming in to feel like they're coming to visit a friend or relative instead of coming for a doctor's appointment," Asmus-Roth said.

To that end, the renovations will include installing a wraparound porch outside and a waiting room inside. There will be more private meetings rooms as well.

Since construction and visiting with children who have been abused aren't a good match, during the first-floor renovations, clients will be seen in the Albion and Warsaw offices or in space being made available in the church next door.

More than 20 years ago, if a child was abused, if they were believed, the investigation and prosecution involved multiple examinations and interviews and multiple locations. That, in itself, Asmus-Roth said, was traumatic, and by the nature of things, could lead to inconsistencies in stories that made prosecution harder.

Now, because of the center, all of the professionals involved in a case -- attorneys, investigators, caseworkers, victim's advocates, and doctors, are all in one place and can be seen in one visit.

The work of the center is important, Asmus-Roth said, because she remembers what she heard in a previous job from adults who had been abused as children. They were often ignored or told they were making it up.

Today, she said, child abuse is less frequent, but because of greater awareness more often reported.

"Being here enables all of us to make sure that no kid who walks through our doors is going to say 50 years from now, 'no one believed me. No one supported me. I felt like I was all alone,' " Asmus-Roth said.

"I go back to that sense of wanting this to be the shelter in the storm. It's important to me that the children in our community know that no matter what happens outside when they come here, they'll be believed and they'll be supported."

For more about the center or to make a donation, visit


Kathleen Kogut, architect and project manager, from LaBella Associates, and Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.


The staff of the Child Advocacy Center: Theresa Asmus-Roth, Brenda McQuillan -- mental health therapist, Amanda Czworka -- mental health therapist, Breana Crane -- victim assistant, Dave Libick -- family advocate, and Jessica Mitchell -- forensic interviewer.

Justice for Children will benefit from this year's Chapin Charity Golf Tournament Aug. 11 at Terry Hills

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Chapin International will be hosting its 11th Annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Terry Hills Golf Course in Batavia.

Chapin has proudly selected Justice for Children as its charity to support this year. As in the past all funds collected will go directly to the charity.

Please join us this year supporting Justice for Children by a donation, sponsorship or participation. The tournament provides everyone an opportunity to contribute to this truly amazing charity.

Justice for Children was selected out of several other local charities by Chapin's Golf Committee. Many of you may not even know or have heard of Justice for Children. That is a good thing that you never have had a reason to need the services provided. The services are every discreet, provided to protect the privacy of the children in need. All services are free.

The golf tournament is modestly priced at $75 and includes 18 holes of golf with cart, lunch, and dinner. Shotgun start is at 1 p.m.

Every person will receive a prize. Opportunities will be available for chances to win a car in the Hole-in-One contest.

Three local car dealerships -- Ken Barrett, Castilone, and Toyota of Batavia -- offer cars for the contest. All participants will have two opportunities during the tournament to win.

Max Pies Furniture in Batavia will be again offering a lounge chair to the winner of the putting contest held during registration hours before the tournament starts.

Longest drive, closest to pin, and closest to the line will also be available for all during the event. Everyone at all skill levels will have a chance to win. Mulligans and Skins will be offered as well.

Please go to for registration or sponsorship opportunities.

Early registration is advised to avoid missing out, our event fills to capacity quickly.

For any questions or information contact Norm Hubbard, tournament director at or call/text 409-7575.

About Justice for Children

The Justice for Children GLOW Foundation is honored to be the beneficiary of the 11th annual Chapin Charity Golf Tournament. The mission of the Justice for Children GLOW Foundation Inc. is to provide philanthropic support to enhance the work of the Justice for Children Advocacy Center and multidisciplinary team throughout Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming (GLOW) counties.

The support provided by Chapin will assist us in meeting our goal of ensuring that every child who comes to the Justice for Children Advocacy Center receives the care and support necessary to begin their journey toward healing.

Since opening in 1998, the Justice for Children Advocacy Center has served more than 2,500 children and their families who have been impacted by physical or sexual abuse. In 2018 alone, 287 children and their families benefitted from the services available at the Justice for Children Advocacy Center. These services include victim advocacy, forensic interviewing, mental health counseling, medical exams, and multidisciplinary case review.

The proceeds from the Charity Golf Tournament will be used to replace existing, outdated medical equipment with a state-of-the-art imaging system to be used on site at the Justice for Children Advocacy Center’s Batavia office. This equipment will improve our highly skilled medical providers’ ability to identify, diagnose, and document injuries that have been inflicted upon children who have been physically or sexually abused.

Additionally, this system will create opportunities for continuing education and peer review for our medical providers, allowing them to keep their skills sharp and up to date with current best practices. The welcome addition of this equipment will aid us in our goal of ensuring that all the children we help receive the highest quality care possible.

Photos: Bidding on a Brighter Future, fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center

By Howard B. Owens


The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosted its fifth annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala last night at the Genesee Community College Forum, with David Bellavia (top photo) serving as emcee.

Information is not yet available on how much was raised and whether that amount helped the club achieve its five-year goal of raising $150,000 for the Child Advocacy Center/Justice for Children.







The organizing committee, Jocelyn Sikorski, Anne Bezon, Jeanne Walton, Susan Maha, Gary Maha and Shannon Ford. Not pictured, Lawrence Friedman.

Bellavia to emcee annual gala benefiting Justice for Children

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia resident, decorated Iraq War veteran, author and former congressional candidate David Bellavia (center) will be the emcee for the annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala at Genesee Community College on Sept. 19.

The annual event is a fundraiser organized by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Justice for Children. In its fifth year, organizers expect to cap the initial goal of raising $150,000 for a new CAC center. The CAC is now in quarters on East Main Street and the money may be used for rehabilitation of that facility.

The event is in the Forum starting at 5:30 p.m. and includes live, silent and basket auctions, entertainment and food. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. 

To make a donation, become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit

With Bellavia in the photo, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and CAC supervisor Anne Bezon.

County's Justice for Children Advocacy Center awarded re-accreditation

By Billie Owens

Genesee County Justice for Children Advocacy Center has been awarded re-accreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision.

As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the country, National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of accreditation and membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first.

Accredited CAC’s must undergo a re-accreditation process every five years to ensure that best practices are continually being applied. With accreditation standards being updated in 2010, re-accreditation this year reflects the Justice for Children Advocacy Center’s commitment to providing evidence-based methods practice.

The Justice for Children Advocacy Center provides services to the children of GLOW region-Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. In 2011 the Justice for Children Advocacy Center provided services to 184 children and their families. In 2012, it provided services to 237 children and their families. As an Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance, The Justice for Children Advocacy Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.

National Children’s Alliance awards Accredited Membership based on a CAC’s compliance with 10 national standards of accreditation to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims. Accredited members must utilize a functioning and effective multidisciplinary team approach to work collaboratively in child abuse investigation, prosecution, and treatment. National Children’s Alliance also considers standards regarding a center’s cultural competency and diversity, forensic interviews, victim support and advocacy, medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention, and child focused setting.

“As a team of individuals dedicated to responding to child abuse, we recognize the importance of maintaining Accredited status from National Children’s Alliance. Re-accreditation not only validates our organization’s dedication to proven effective approaches of child abuse intervention and prevention, but also contributes to consistency across the child advocacy center movement as a whole,” said Anne Bezon, Justice for Children Advocacy Center Supervisor.

Teresa Huizar, executive director of National Children’s Alliance, said: "The Justice for Children Advocacy Center is commended for its continued commitment to effectively serve victims of child abuse. As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high quality services that result from professional collaboration.

"By requiring Accredited Centers to undergo re-accreditation every five years, we ensure that evidence-based practices are being implemented and the highest quality of services is being provided."

The mission of the Justice for Children Advocacy Center and Genesee County Multi-Disciplinary Team is to seek to reduce the incidence of child sexual and physical abuse, to minimize trauma to alleged child victims, and to promote healing for victims and their families by coordinating services at a single child-friendly facility.

Girl Scouts tour to give thanks

By Steve Ognibene

Some members from local Brownie Girl Scout Troop 42001 went around to visit some local places today to give thanks before the upcoming holiday. First stop was at Community Action of Orleans and Genesee to present some donations of goods to help familes for Thanksgiving.

We presented to Lisa Wittmeyer, case manager (left), some donations from our troop shown above. Next to her are Noelia Ventura, Alyssa Ognibene, Portia Ranalli, Co-Leader Steve Ognibene and Brandi Lang-Smith.

Then our troop visited and donated Girl Scout Cookies to Justice for Children pictured below.

Accepting the cookies was Julie Walsh (pictured middle holding our letter).

Our last stop was M&T Bank to give our thanks to Bank Manager Mike Easton (left, below) and present him with a Certificate of Sponsorship for allowing us to use his bank for our cookie booth sales this year. 

Our troop did very well in cookie sales and together with individual sales we sold 1,000 boxes of cookies. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

(Photos submitted by Steve Ognibene)

Kiwanis Club sets ambitious goal of raising $150,000 to benefit Child Advocacy Center

By Howard B. Owens

There was a time when a child who was victimized would have to go through a gauntlet of police and medical exams while a case was built against the perpetrator.

And at the end of the process, the child and his or her family was left alone to figure out how to deal with trauma and its aftermath.

Then a group of leaders in the local criminal justice system got together and created Justice for Children and the Child Advocacy Center.

Today, when a child is sexually or physically abused, the child is no longer brought to an intimidating police station for an interview, then driven up to Strong Memorial Hospital for a physical and forensic exam, and then perhaps put through interviews with another investigator or two.

Rather, at the CAC on Bank Street, the child is welcomed into a kid-friendly environment where the investigators, medical examiners and other specialists are brought in to simplify the process for the child.

The CAC also provides ongoing counciling, support and even clothing and school supplies to families that need the assistance.

"I can't imagine going back to the way that it was before," District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said. "It's just a great place."

Friedman is also president this year of the Batavia Kiwanis Club. As a national organization, Kiwanis has a mission of engaging in charitable and civic work on behalf of children. The Batavia Kiwanis adopted the CAC as its long-term project.

The first order of business is to raise $150,000 to buy a new building to house the CAC. The club's goal is to raise $100,000 itself and is asking other Kiwanis clubs to contribute a combined $50,000.

"It's hard for me to imagine a more worthwhile long-term project for our club," Friedman said. 

Currently, the CAC pays $1,300 a month in rent -- down from $1,500 when the landlord provided lawn care that is now performed by volunteers -- mostly Kiwanis members. 

Friedman said that $1,300 a month that could be used to benefit children directly, and it's also a big expense in an age when state and federal grants are being reduced.

According to Genesee Justice Director Tiffany Szymanek, the CAC receives money from three primary grants -- National Children's Alliance, NYS Office of Child and Family Services and NYS Office of Victims' Services.

A new formula for state grants has more funds going to CACs in larger cities and cuts to smaller cities, Szymanek said.

Cuts have forced CAC to reduce staffing from two full-time employees to one and a half, with the hours of Grace Flannery, a child advocate (pictured) having her hours cut in half.

Flannery's job is to help guide a child and family through the process, from the day the child first walks into the toy filled waiting room through the criminal investigation, the court proceedings and any counseling.

The waiting room, Flannery said, "at least makes them feel a little more comfortable."

It's a symbol of what the CAC tries to accomplish -- avoid victimizing children again by putting through the trauma of reliving their experiences in sterile, adult environments.

"If they are escorted from service to service, they are just re-victimized and re-victimized," Szymanek said.

In a tour, Flannery showed off the CAC's child-friendly exam rooms, the clothes closet, the school supplies stacked in the employee break room and a boardroom filling up quickly with donations for an upcoming fundraiser. She said many times she thinks the community needs to know about the work the CAC does to help victimized children.

"The CAC is a marvelous resource that the community should know about," Flannery said. "Anything you can do to help get the word out, we really appreciate."

The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a "Bidding on a Brighter Future" Gala and Auction at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at Batavia Downs. Donations of items for the auction are still being accepted. Tickets for the gala are $40 per person or $75 per couple. Checks can be mailed to: Justice for Children GLOW Foundation, Inc., 108 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020.

Disclosure: As of Thursday, Howard Owens is a member of the Batavia Kiwanis Club.

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