County employee of the month awarded to person who helps families and victims of child abuse

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Ilda Rupert, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Coordinator assigned to Children’s Safe Harbor, is the Montgomery County Employee of the month for October. Picture courtesy of the District Attorney's Office.

Ilda Rupert, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Coordinator assigned to Children’s Safe Harbor, is the Montgomery County Employee of the month for October.

Rupert received the Employee of the Month award at the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on October 13.

Special Victims Division Chief Shanna Redwine with the District Attorney’s Office presented the award to Ilda Rupert at Commissioner’s Court. Picture courtesy of the DA’s Office.

“Ilda Rupert is a victim coordinator employed by the District Attorney’s Office. She is assigned to Children’s Safe Harbor, which is our local children’s advocacy center, said District Attorney’s Office Special Victims Division Chief Shanna Redwine, who presented the award to Rupert at the Commissioners Court meeting. Ilda’s job assignment includes assisting prosecutors, detectives, CPS Investigators and other multi-disciplinary team members, in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving child sexual abuse, severe child physical abuse and of our all child fatality cases that come through the District Attorney’s Office. If you would for me imagine the worst kind of child abuse that you could possibly imagine, and Ilda’s entire case load is that.”

Redwine said Rupert is the direct point of contact for victims and their families, as their cases make their way through the criminal justice system.

“On top of that, Ilda, being who she is, also volunteers to be the main administrative support for prosecutors, investigators and detectives who are housed at Safe Harbor working on these types of cases,” said Redwine. “That is no easy task, and that is not something that is in Ilda’s job description. If you read her PDQ, she is a victim assistance coordinator, and a phenomenal one. Ilda, seeing that there was a need and knowing that we don’t have infinite resources, said what else can I do to help, and every day she does just that. Judge and Commissioners, child abuse happens everywhere and all the time, even here in our great County. When everything works like it’s supposed to, someone finds out that a child is being hurt, someone puts a stop to it, someone reports it, and them someone seeks justice on behalf of that child.”

Redwine said that sadly, and more often than not, even in normal times, children endure child abuse with nobody ever knowing, with no safe adults ever coming forward and bringing that abuse to light.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon with Ilda Rupert, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Coordinator assigned to Children’s Safe Harbor. Rupert received the County Employee of the Month award. Picture courtesy of the DA’s Office.

“We’re not living in normal times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, children are further isolated, they’re further removed from resources and from safe adults who are willing to help them. Now in this difficult time that we’re all experiencing, Ilda, as she always does, has stood in the gap for victims of child abuse,” said Redwine.

Redwine said Rupert is the most tenured person assigned to Children’s Safe Harbor, not only with the District Attorney’s Office, but with all participating agencies.

“She has been assigned to that assignment longer than any of us. As detectives, prosecutors and investigators rotate in and out of that position as we all do, she is there to provide and encouragement. She is truly the keeper of the culture at Children’s Safe Harbor,” said Redwine. “Children who are abused in our County, when they meet Ilda, they find a helper with a servant’s heart.”

Redwine said this year, Rupert helped a family on a case that the DA’s Office was handling, who desperately needed resources so they could have a funeral and a burial service for an infant who had passed away.

“Ilda was able to successfully find and coordinate resources so that family, who was going through the worst thing that you could imagine, could properly honor their loved one,” said Redwine.

Redwine added that on one recent evening, Rupert received a call from her husband, Enrique Rupert, a Mental Health Deputy with the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office who recently was named the County Employee of the Month, about a driver who was arrested for DWI.

“There were five young children in the car with that driver. As care for those children was being arranged, Ilda, knowing that she had access to resources that could help officers and these children, went into response mode,” said Redwine. “Not only did Ilda deliver toys, clothes, snacks, comfort items and diapers, much out of her own pocket, stopping at a store on the way, but she responded and helped babies until Child Protective Services could respond. She made those children’s lives just a bit better and a little bit safer that night. Commissioners, this was at nine pm on a Wednesday, on a case that was not ever assigned to Ilda. She just did what was right.”

Redwine said some people show up and do their job, and some even do it very well.

“Ilda Rupert excels day in and day out, and children in our County are better for the work that she does,” said Redwine.

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