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Rape victims question DA's treatment of award-winning prosecutor

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2011-04-09 -

On Tuesday county prosecutor Michaela Andruzzi will be recognized for her work preventing sexual assaults. The only trouble is, argue several rape victims, DA Sim Gill has taken her off prosecutions.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center will be awarding Andruzzi their annual Visionary Voice award after the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault [UCASA] nominated her. The ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. at the Hive gallery in Trolley Square on Tuesday.

UCASA's administrative assistant Deborah Dilley said her organized nominated Andruzzi, "because she has an amazing conviction rate." UCASA's nomination of Andruzzi, who did not respond to several requests for comment, described her as "a dedicated attorney working for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the state of Utah."

Andruzzi was featured in a fall 2010 CW cover story about rape prosecutions and serial rapist Azlen Marchet, called Faces of Rape. At that time she was head of the domestic violence unit, which was solely dedicated to prosecuting DV perpetrators. But after Sim Gill defeated incumbent DA Lohra Miller in the November election, the DV unit was disbanded.

Marchet victim Jessica Campbell angrily questions why Gill "has taken Michaela's power away. She's in a secretarial position. She loves to prosecute but now she doesn't get to do it. I am almost fearful for victims." "Laila," whose rape case against Marchet was the last to be prosecuted, questions whether often inexperienced prosecutors at the county "understand what victims go through."

Andruzzi, "Laila" says, is passionate about sexual crimes prosecutions. "It takes a special person to prosecute them.""Laila", along with several other victims, originally had their cases declined by the DA's office. Andruzzi was "our champion. If it wasn't for her, Marchet would still be on the street. It's frightening and its' sad."

Gill says when he took over the office, his concern was the "totality" of the office and he folded the specialist teams Miller had set up, DV, DUI and elder abuse into other teams he created, notably a Violent Crimes unit, into which he moved the DV prosecutors. Andruzzi, he says, was offered two positions, either as a prosecutor in the violent gang unit, or as leader of the "restitution recovery team," a unit he set up as part of his "victim-centered approach" to hold offenders accountable. She accepted the latter. 

"While I appreciate passion about specifics," he says, "my obligation is to the entire office."

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Posted // April 12,2011 at 20:18

THe thing that Sim Gill fails to say is that the gang unit position he offered Ms. Andruzzi was more than a demotion from the position she held in the DV team which he demolished upon his arrival. Why take something away from the State of Utah when it has been so successful. It doesn't make sense. Explain that Mr. Gill


Posted // April 11,2011 at 14:25

Yup, Sim seems to have a lot of local reporters (trib/desnews) and Defense friends drinking the special koolaid he is serving up. It's a good thing for him that there will be no one who can specialize in prosecuting things well. Average is just fine...


Posted // April 12,2011 at 14:19 - But the R-E-A-L-L-Y cool thing about Sim Gill is. . .he isn't Lohra Miller.


Posted // April 11,2011 at 08:13

Sim Gill has had too much air cut off to his brain with those ridiculous bow ties. It seems as though his master plan to throw a tantrum related to anything Lohra Miller had set up is working out for him, but this strategy obviously won't work in the long run. When it comes down to it, he and his staff is going to piss off victims and families...and that makes for bad campaigns. Michaela at least worked her butt off, unlike many others who think they "get it" and don't in that office. Obtaining restitution for crime victims is as victim-centered as it gets, especially compared to prosecuting gangs. I hope that the democratic party can figure out a better option the next time around.


Posted // April 9,2011 at 17:17

If Andruzzi was so concerned about victims, why would she decline a position in the violent crimes unit? It is because she has always been most concerned about her power within the DA's office.


Posted // April 12,2011 at 22:00 - I read that it was a position on the GANG unit, not violent crimes. i thought she was a sex crimes prosecutor. why would he give her a position on gangs? and anyway, why should she take a demotion? would you?