Durbin Meets With Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal

ROCK ISLAND – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, met with Rock Island County State’s Attorney, Dora Villarreal, and other local attorneys to discuss criminal justice issues.  During the meeting, they discussed mental health resources for kids who have witnessed traumatic events, support for restorative justice initiatives, and Durbin’s efforts to protect kids online and combat child sex abuse material (CSAM). 

“I’m grateful to Rock Island County State’s Attorney, Dora Villarreal, and the local attorneys who met with me for sharing their experiences working within the criminal justice system.  We spoke about a number of our shared priorities, including our commitment to ensuring our criminal justice system is fair and just for all,” said Durbin.  “I look forward to working together to meet that goal.” 

In the 2018 SUPPORT Act, Durbin established a Trauma Support in Schools grant program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which has now received $19 million in appropriations, plus another $28 million from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act(BSCA).  The program aims to increase student access to evidence-based and culturally relevant trauma support services and mental health care by developing innovative initiatives, activities, and programs to link local school systems with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems.  

Durbin has introduced legislation—the Strengthening Transparency and Obligation to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act of 2023 (STOP CSAM Act)—to crack down on the proliferation of child sex abuse material online.  To combat this horrific crime, the STOP CSAM Actsupports victims and increases accountability and transparency for online platforms.  The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to advance the bill last month. 

Along with Ms. Villarreal, the meeting was also attended by Hany Khoury, Rock Island County Public Defender; Nate Nieman, Criminal Defense Attorney, Nieman Law; John A. Singer, Managing Partner, Winstein, Kavensky, & Cunningham, LLC; and Steve Hanna, Criminal Defense Attorney, Hanna & Ruud, LLC.

Selected unanimously by the Rock Island County Board and sworn-in in 2019, Ms. Villarreal is the first female and first Latina State’s Attorney of Rock Island County.  She is a first-generation American and the first attorney in her family.  Prior to her role as State’s Attorney, Ms. Villarreal also served as a Rock Island County assistant public defender, a private criminal defense attorney, and the first female President of the Rock Island County Bar Association.