On Monday, a United Against Bullying-sponsored float rode down Main Street in the Miners Day Parade, full of young children who will be waving to spectators lining the street.
Christina Sally was also on the float, and knew what her job was. "I'll be the one keeping the kids safe," she said.
Keeping kids safe is just one of the jobs Sally does as the Summit County County Attorney's Office's Investigator, but to her, it is arguably the most important,
"My main goal for going into law enforcement was to protect children," Sally said. "They are innocent victims."
Sally is finishing up a busy summer in which she headed up the County Attorney's Children's Justice Center and its offshoot the Camp Safety program, with the help of many partners. In addition, making sure a particularly predatory criminal is behind the bars at Utah State Prison for a long time was also one of her priorities.
This past summer, Sally was a big part of obtaining justice for several teenagers who were abused by a sexual predator, Thomas Harold Hackler.
In April, 2013, Hackler sexually abused a teenage boy in a Coalville hotel, and after he was convicted for the crime, Sally sensed that there were many more victims.
"I knew that he was a traveler," Sally said, noting that before he was charged with the Coalville abuse he fled the state, ending up in Washington state.
Sally started a thorough investigation of Hackler, and eventually located victims throughout Utah as well as Colorado, Washington, California and even states in the Northeast.
In all, Sally was able to document the stories of more than 25 young men whom Hackler had allegedly sexually abused.
Sally then reached out to state and federal officials for assistance in prosecuting Hackler for crimes in Utah and eventually gained the help of the Utah Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General filed 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor against Hackler. He pleaded guilty to two of those charges and is currently serving a term of 2-to-30 years in prison.
After interviewing Hackler's victims, Sally has remained in contact with many of them over the last several months. "Some of them are doing quite well," she said.
The investigation of someone who preyed on children is nothing out of the ordinary for Sally, who began working for the Summit County Attorney's Office is 2005, after spending two decades in the San Leandro Police Department in the Bay Area of California. She retired from that force and moved to Utah after falling in love with the area after a skiing trip.
One of Sally's major accomplishments in Summit County was starting the first Children's Justice Center in Summit County, after years of having young sexual abuse victims travel all the way to Wasatch County to be interviewed. The Children's Justice Center provides a child-friendly atmosphere where abuse victims receive coordinated services during the child abuse investigative process. "We want to reduce any future trauma for the children," Sally said.
An outgrowth of that is Camp Safety, which in mid-August finished its second annual camp. Camp Safety is a week-long camp held at the Sheldon Richins Building in Park City for kids between the ages of 5 and 6, The camp, led by Sally, teaches children all about keeping themselves safe as they prepare to enter school. "It's a passion of mine to empower children to keep themselves safe," she said.
"Christina is an amazing resource," said her boss, Summit County Attorney David Brickey. "She works tirelessly, and the children of Summit County are lucky to have her on their side."