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Article updated: 12/12/2012 5:47 PM

Bree to lead Kane County child advocacy center

By Harry Hitzeman

A veteran prosecutor at the Kane County State's Attorney's Office has been picked to lead the Kane County Children's Advocacy Center, which investigates sex crimes against children.

Debra Bree, an assistant state's attorney since 2000, was named the center's executive director, filling a vacancy created when Lori Chassee stepped down in August.

"Deb brings a wealth of experience and professionalism, and a caring touch to the position," Kane State's Attorney Joe McMahon said. "Deb's ability to lead, her understanding of the issues present in cases of sexual abuse of children, and her experience as a successful prosecuting attorney will be of invaluable service to crime victims and their families, as well as to the team of professionals at the CAC, the law enforcement agencies who work with the CAC, and the community groups who provide crucial support to the CAC."

Bree will still prosecute some cases, but also will take on administrative tasks.

Bree, 38, hopes her courtroom experience will assist her at the center, which has a staff of prosecutors, investigators, social workers, victim advocates and support staff to works to coordinate investigations of sex abuse cases.

Bree began her career handling child abuse and neglect cases and has prosecuted CAC cases since January 2009.

"It's certainly a passion that I have in litigating these types of cases. I feel to some extent I'm coming back full circle to an area I have passion for," she said. "We have so many strengths within our division, I want to make sure we work off those strengths."

A native of Lincoln, Ill., she graduated from Illinois State University in 1996 and earned her law degree in 1999 from DePaul University.

This year, the CAC and the state's attorney's office have investigated 285 cases of possible sexual misconduct against children under age 18 and charged 38 cases, officials said.

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