OVA: OVA Staff

Garvin G. Ambrose, State Victim Advocate 

Garvin G. Ambrose was appointed as the State Victim Advocate on February 1, 2013, by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and assumed his responsibilities on March 15, 2013.  Garvin has a notable background working on behalf of crime victims and advocating for the policy changes that are necessary to preserve their rights and serve their needs. He was the Executive Assistant State’s Attorney and Legislative Liaison in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois where he served as an advocate on issues of civil, criminal, juvenile and family law, and assisted in the development, research and drafting of legislative initiatives and policy. In this position, he was responsible for working with government agencies, nonprofits, and victim advocacy groups to promote passage of a number of new state laws that aided in the protection of victims, including in the areas of child abuse, domestic violence, financial crimes, gun crimes, and human trafficking. Garvin earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Southeast Missouri State University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Connecticut.

 Merit Lajoie, Complaint Officer

Merit Lajoie joined the OVA in May 2000.  Ms. Lajoie brings to the OVA a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas of victim rights and victim services.  Over the past several years, Ms. Lajoie has actively worked with crime victims, particularly survivors of homicide.  Ms. Lajoie herself is a survivor of homicide.  Her mother was brutally murdered outside her home in Manchester, Connecticut in 1996.  Since her mother’s tragic death, Merit has worked at the state legislature to help get important gun restriction legislation passed (P.A. No. 99-212).  Merit brings a tremendous amount of energy to the OVA and, in addition to serving as Complaint Officer, is involved in OVA’s legislative advocacy and public education efforts.

 Hakima Bey-Coon, Staff Attorney

Hakima Bey-Coon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rutgers University in 1992, and a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School in 1995.  After earning her law degree, Attorney Bey-Coon served a one-year clerkship under the Hon. Kevin G. Callahan, J.S.C., in the New Jersey Superior Court-Criminal Division.  Over the next several years Attorney Bey-Coon served as a staff attorney at Hudson County Legal Services in Jersey City, New Jersey where she represented indigent clients in housing matters and as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office where she prosecuted professional licensing cases.  After serving seven years in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, she began practicing law at Maya & Associates, P.C. in Westport, Connecticut.  Thereafter, Attorney Bey-Coon joined the OVA in March 2006.

Vanessa M. DeLeon, Secretary I

Vanessa M. Deleon joined the Office of the Victim Advocate in 2011 after working for the State of CT Department of Children and Families, New Britain office for 6 years. Vanessa’s experience and passion for helping others, and her ability to maintaining community relationships, has proven to aid the OVA in its mission of assisting crime victims in Connecticut. Vanessa’s knowledge in office administration, design and business has also played an essential role in executing the responsibilities of the office. Vanessa is also very active in her community; she is the secretary for the Meriden Chamber of Commerce Young Business Leaders, who actively participate in community service activities and fundraisers to help others in need. Vanessa has a degree in fashion marketing and business, and is presently working towards obtaining her MBA.  

Laura J. Stefon, Durational Project Manager

Laura J. Stefon joined the Office of the Victim Advocate in November of 2013, and will focus on the creation and implementation of a sustainable public outreach and education program for the office.  Laura has a solid background in state government, having worked for both the Legislative and Executive branches over the last eight years, including her position as Legislative Aide to the Senate Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  In that role, Laura was responsible for all constituent outreach and casework for the 27th Senatorial District, and worked closely with members of the Judicial Branch, State’s Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and various law enforcement and victim advocacy groups having business before the Judiciary Committee.  Starting in January of 2011 Laura became Executive Aide to the General Counsel in the Governor’s Office and was intimately involved in the daily operations of that office.  Laura received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut, and from 2005-2007 also served as a Selectwoman for the Town of Sprague.

Content Last Modified on 12/16/2013 10:16:26 AM