Victims' vigil, march draws crowd

Christopher Dornblaser

William Basham, of York City, said nobody should turn a blind eye to abuse.

"Some people won't report it if it happens to them," he said.

On Tuesday, Basham and over 100 Yorkers came out to support victims at the 30th Annual Crime Victims' Rights March and Candlelight Vigil.

The event was sponsored by the York County Victims' Rights Coalition as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, observed from Sunday to Saturday.

The vigil: The vigil started at the Historic Colonial Courthouse on West Market and South Pershing Streets at 7 p.m., where marchers met before following the Kiltie Band of York to the Trinity United Church of Christ, just a block away.

Once inside, marchers listened to featured speaker Sarah Mullaney, a victim of child sexual abuse. She spoke about her abuse and the impact it had on her, saying what her abusers were sentenced to would never equal the amount of pain she endured.

After she spoke, the public was invited to the front where they were given the opportunity to speak about themselves as victims, or their loved ones, before lighting a candle.

Jim Wallmuth, of West York, spoke and dedicated a candle in honor of his son, James Walmuth III, who was killed in 2010 during a botched robbery in the city. After the vigil, Wallmuth, who has attended the it the past few years, said it was a good way to spread awareness.

"All the people that put this on do a great job," he said.

He said the people who help victims or families of victims, such as the police or the district attorney's office, should be commended.

"We have so much help from so many people, it does make it easier," Wallmuth said.

Ray Bechtold and his wife Rachel Schuler, of York City, were not aware of the vigil before seeing the march. Once they heard the band playing they joined the march. Bechtold and Schuler both lit candles during the vigil.

"It was so empowering to get everything out into the open," Schuler said. Schuler, a victim of abuse during her childhood, lit a candle for herself.

Bechtold lit a candle for himself and his sister, saying they were both victims of abuse during their childhood. He said the vigil was a good way to know there were other victims out there.

"They make you feel like you're apart of something," he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at