‘Enough is enough’: Pastor, Glasgow lead rally against domestic violence
BY JAN LARSEN Correspondent October 5, 2013 3:06PM
Family members of murder victim Brittany Brooks march at Take Back the Night. Pictured are her cousin Erica Brooks (from left), her mother Sherry Barnes and aunt Tina Brooks. | Jan Larsen~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:42AM
One night will not cure the pandemic of domestic violence.
That was the message Oct. 3 from both Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and victims advocate the Rev. Neil Schori, the latter of whom was a key witness as Glasgow’s office convicted former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson last year for murdering his third wife.
The message was offered at the 17th annual Will County Take Back the Night event, held because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But one night, or even one month, isn’t enough, they both said while taking turns at the podium at the First Assembly of God in Joliet.
The Peterson case “would not have been won” without Schori’s courageous “hearsay” evidence, Glasgow said.
Stacy Peterson — Drew Peterson’s missing fourth wife — had confided to Schori some details about the night Drew’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, died. Savio’s death was ruled accidental until Stacy went missing and Savio’s body was exhumed and re-examined.
Illinois law now allows such hearsay testimony.
The large church was packed Oct. 3. The message hit home as the names of murdered women and children in Will County were read as the flame of a battery candle flickered in the hands of a child or woman representing the victim. Attendees then streamed down Essington Road sidewalks to make some noise and stop some traffic.
Hoping to move toward a cure for what both Schori and Glasgow call an epidemic, they are joining forces to create a consortium of people and businesses who can help women escape a violent home situation.
Will County started a specialized domestic violence court in 1995. Glasgow soon learned that 80 to 90 percent of abused women might call police but won’t testify in court.
“We’re going to break that cycle,” he said.
Amy Simpson, former director of Will County Legal Aid, is heading up a new division that will prosecute these crimes while aiding the survivors.
“We can make a tremendous difference,” Glasgow said.
Schori, the pastor at Naperville Christian Church, said that real needs of survivors must be met: living arrangements, child care, transportation, education, help with jobs and adjusting to a new life. Having such a plan in place would “empower women to leave,” he said.
“Enough is enough,” Schori said.
Schori urged those who can volunteer to contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.