Attorney General Lynn Fitch
The goal of the SVU unit is to ensure that victims receive the right care from investigators and prosecutors who are handling their cases.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn has launched a new Special Victims Unit within the office to focus on crimes committed against children, the elderly, adults with special needs, and victims of sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence.
“Helping vulnerable citizens has always been a top priority for my office,” said Attorney General Fitch. “Victim-focused crimes are difficult cases that require special attention from uniquely and highly experienced investigators and prosecutors who are dedicated to serving justice with compassion and care. While we cannot undo the past, we can restore the survivor’s dignity, trust, and hope.”
The unit will be led by veteran prosecutor Stephanie Brown. Brown comes with extensive experience prosecuting violent offenses against children and the elderly. She also has experience working with victims of sexual assault and aggravated domestic violence.
There are 12 lead investigators and prosecutors on the team. These individuals come with a special skill set to handle the types of victim-focused criminal offenses this unit will oversee.
History of SVU-related cases in Mississippi
Over the last several years, the number of SVU-related cases have increased. In 2020, the Attorney General’s office received 1,860 cyber-tips. Last year, that number rose to 2,936. Crimes against vulnerable adults have also increased from 2,131 in 2020 to an estimated 3,200 in 2022. This does not include Medicaid Fraud Control complaints.
The state has also turned their focus toward dealing with the threat of human trafficking. This includes efforts by the Attorney General whose office houses a fund which directly provides financial support to organizations who offer victims services. The office also houses a task force specifically designed to handle human trafficking cases.
The Attorney General has conducted over 40 multi-jurisdictional human trafficking operations. This resulted in the recovery of more than 200 victims and the arrest of over 60 perpetrators.
The Attorney General is also the primary office that handles many high-profile cases involving elected officials or public employees. Fitch’s office made the arrest of a former Rankin County tax assessor for the rape of someone over 16 in 2022. The year before, they were involved in the case against Toshemie Wilson, a 20-year high school teacher in Amory who was charged with child exploitation.
For anyone who believes they have encountered a victim of one of these crimes, information on those violations can be submitted through the Attorney General’s website.