Mineola, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas today announced the creation of a new unit to enhance the office’s efforts to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
Singas has appointed veteran prosecutor Caryn Stepner to lead the new Hate Crimes Unit. Stepner served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for more than 25 years where she held many supervisory positions and tried more than 60 felony cases, before joining the Nassau County District Attorney’s office in 2014.
“The diversity of Nassau’s communities is one of our greatest assets, and nobody should be a victim because of the color of their skin, the faith they practice, their gender, or the person they love,” DA Singas said. “Crimes motivated by hate and intolerance are especially despicable and the creation of this unit underscores our commitment to aggressively prosecute these offenses.”
In Brooklyn, Stepner led the successful prosecution of serial killer Lee Van Glahn, a Caucasian tire worker who targeted young African American and Latina prostitutes. Van Glahn killed two women, attempted to rape a third, and was sentenced to life without possibility of parole plus 40 years in 2005. Stepner was also the recipient of a Hero Award from the New York Daily News for her work assisting a heroin-addicted victim who was nearly killed when she was brutally attacked in 1993. She arranged for drug treatment that helped this victim reclaim her life and start a family.
“I have dedicated my career to protecting vulnerable victims, and I am grateful to District Attorney Singas for the opportunity take on this important new role,” said Stepner.
In addition to her new responsibilities, Stepner will continue to serve as Deputy Bureau Chief of the County Court Bureau. She will be assisted by Senior Trial Attorney Tracy Keeton who has extensive hate crimes prosecutorial experience.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a hate crime is encouraged to contact the Nassau County District Attorney’s office at (516) 571-3505 or to call 911 in an emergency.