In her campaign for Ohio’s 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien has received the endorsements of both elected officials and law enforcement professionals.
Yet the endorsements that speak the loudest come from the hearts of the victims that O’Brien has served.
“Carol O’Brien is one of my heroes. She’s not one to finish a case and then turn her back,” said Heather Orr, a victim for whom O’Brien worked to obtain justice. “Carol has become a mentor, friend, and more like a mother than I have ever had. I’ve had a relationship with her for around 15 years now, and she has become part of my family.”
O’Brien said she treats everybody the same and can’t help but develop friendships with “pretty much with everybody” she serves.
“It’s hard not to be empathetic when you talk to them,” O’Brien said.
In her endorsement letter for O’Brien, Orr said in her case the fugitive hid for 12 years before being found so the case could move forward.
“Carol made sure to keep in contact with me and keep me updated on the case,” she said. “When (he) was finally found, Carol went into overdrive and worked very hard to close the case in a timely manner with the outcome that was deserving of the crime committed.”
Orr said she was made aware of what was happening at all times in the case, and O’Brien made sure she was “clear about the process.”
“She is very caring and develops very personal relationships with those she serves,” Orr said. “Carol treats all the victims like her family and fights for them like they are her sons and daughters.”
Orr said that the family-like relationship extends well beyond the case. She said she has asked for advice and guidance on other events in her life like school and work opportunities from O’Brien.
“Carol sends me emails often to see how my family and I are doing,” she said. “Every time I visit Ohio, I make sure I have an opportunity to meet up with Carol and grab lunch during her busy day. She always finds time even with her busy schedule to catch up and stay in touch.”
Orr said that O’Brien stands for the rights of people, demands justice, and supports the people of Ohio. She said that O’Brien doesn’t let obstacles stand in her way when it comes to fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves, “but more than that, she makes sure their well-being is taken care of first and foremost.”
“Carol O’Brien cares about people above and beyond what her job requires,” Orr said. “She has and will make the State of Ohio a better and safer place for everyone. She is very caring and develops very personal relationships with those she serves.”
Elliott White, of Sunbury, said O’Brien reopened an unresolved rape case that her daughter was the victim of.
“Carol was able to successfully prosecute this 15-year-old case and put the perpetrator behind bars for an excess of 20 years,” White said. “It was not just her familiarity with the law, but it was her humanity, her strength, and her tenacity that resolved this case. It was also her ability to take a global approach to a problem, break it down, delegate tasks, and bring a swift resolution to a complex issue.”
O’Brien said she had been speaking at Rotary Club when the closed case was brought to her attention.
“It was horrible,” she said. “When I got back to the office I looked at it and I said, ‘We need to reopened it.’”
O’Brien said it was tough tracking down everyone involved in the case, but said the suspect was convicted after a three-day trial.
White said she was not surprised by O’Brien’s announcement to run for the open seat in the 12th District in the State of Ohio and said her lack of surprise came from the fact that O’Brien is perfectly suited to fulfill the duties of a state representative.
“Carol O’Brien’s legal acumen, acquired through years of serving in the Attorney General’s Office and as Delaware County prosecuting attorney makes her uniquely qualified to perform the duties of state representative,” she said. “Through serving the Delaware County community as their elected representative in legal matters, she has shown her ability to communicate with people from all walks of life and to fight to protect them and uphold the laws of the state. These characteristics have been the hallmark of her service to Delaware County and to the State of Ohio.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.