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Through Cavalry PR, I’ll stand by crime victims in their toughest moments


For decades, as a New York prosecutor and then as a national correspondent with Court TV and HLN, I saw too many instances where families, already devastated by tragedy, endured what might have felt like a second level of trauma.

Still reeling from the discovery of a body or the arrest of a loved one, they were now forced to decide whether to grant an interview. And to whom. And whether to give more than one. And what would be too much, or too little, as they struggled to turn their personal torment into a positive influence for others?

It’s mind boggling to think how these victims can be expected to handle the intense media spotlight, which can sometimes influence even very high-profile public figures to make  questionable decisions.

For example, in a May 13 Op-Ed piece in The Baltimore Sun, former deputy state’s attorney Page Croyder suggested that Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby hurriedly filed criminal charges against six officers only four days after Freddie Gray’s funeral as a “reckless or incompetent” form of “crowd control” to quell her city’s riots.

In trial after trial, I’ve seen traumatized families on television, unprepared for what to expect, only to be asked questions intended to make them cry.  Families have asked me for assistance in establishing a foundation, for guidance in getting a book deal, or just for better preparation for the media onslaught. In each case, I was frustrated that I couldn’t stand by these families at such a difficult time. Now, as a member of the Cavalry PR team, I can.

Cavalry PR’s emphasis on victim advocacy, support and empowerment is consistent with my goals. In fact, it’s the ideal place for me to channel my expertise in a new direction to help crime victims and their families, attorneys and other trial participants, and the wrongly accused and convicted, get their message out in the most meaningful way. This can be by publishing a book, raising awareness through their own foundation, public speaking, calculated media appearances, or whatever is the best way to achieve the client’s goals.

A year ago, I founded the subscription website Karas On Crime to cover Jodi Arias’s penalty phase retrial, which ended in March. I now use the site to highlight crime and justice stories and educate my members about the law, while working through Cavalry PR to provide knowledge, insight and courage to those facing great pressure and adversity under the sometimes blinding media spotlight.

Why we’re really called Cavalry PR


With the recent launch of Cavalry PR, some have asked about the name.

Is it because we have a big team that works together in ways that you might not see at another PR agency?

Is it because we have a more diverse network of professionals, with specialists at everything from legal PR to book deals to helping the families of murder victims and missing children?

Is it because we have a nationwide team with media contacts in many major metropolitan markets, as well as national media and niche media, such as business and legal websites and publications?

Although all of these things are true, the motivation stems from my nine years as a news and legal affairs reporter for People.

During far too many assignments, I reached out to the families of crime victims. Like the many other reporters on their doorstep, I had, what I felt, was a good reason to request an interview or even an exclusive. I typically highlighted that People was the biggest and most respected publication that regularly reported these kinds of stories.

The families understood this was true, and often cooperated.

Deep down, however, I wished very badly that I could do more. I was one journalist. Not the cavalry.

Something happened during those years. That wall that all reporters are supposed to have, that lets them feel only enough empathy to understand and write about the situation, had worn down. These crime victims, from places like Weleetka, Okla., where two little girls were murdered on a dirt road, to Sidney, Montana, where a school teacher was murdered during a morning jog, saw it in my eyes.

So when my business partner David Thompson and I set out to form a PR agency, the first goal I shared was to assemble a unique crisis management team capable of helping people in ways not offered by other PR firms.

We didn’t have the name yet, or the website, or the team. But that was truly the day that Cavalry PR was born.