As a member of the JJS Sexual Abuse Division, with a 7 years of experience as a leading Special Victims Unit prosecutor, Brenda Harkavy’s practice is dedicated to representing victims of sexual abuse. Brenda zealously advocates on behalf of clients throughout the country in cases against institutions that enable that abuse including:
- Litigation on behalf of survivors of the former gynecologist of The University of Southern California, George Tyndall
- Representation of survivors of childhood sexual abuse committed by priests, members of religious orders, and other clergy members
- Cases on behalf of children who have been victims of sexual abuse
- Legal counsel to those who were sexually abused in foster homes, doctors’ offices, nursing homes hospitals and schools
- Claimants in Federal bankruptcy proceedings involving institutions that harbored sexual abusers
Prior to joining JJS, Brenda prosecuted hundreds of child sexual abuse, adult sexual offense, child pornography, and intimate partner violence cases – including intimate partner homicides – and litigated countless jury trials. Brenda was known as a bulldog in the courtroom, achieving guilty verdicts in some of her office’s toughest cases, some of which were covered on the national news. Brenda worked in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office to federally prosecute child predators and was cross-designated as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, where she investigated and prosecuted physician and teacher sexual abuse cases.
Outside of the courtroom, Brenda delivered state-wide trainings and presentations on intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She was asked to serve on several legislative subcommittees where she drafted legislation and testified before the Maryland Legislature in favor of laws to enhance victims’ rights and protections. Brenda also spearheaded the development of district court domestic violence dockets and created county-wide educational programs to combat teen dating violence.
Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Brenda served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Stephen J. Sfekas in the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Brenda is also the recipient of the Victoria F. Gelfman Legal Excellence Award, which is awarded by the Maryland States’ Attorney’s Association to only one prosecutor state-wide that displays legal excellence, leadership, and a commitment to community service.
Brenda received her law degree in 2011 from American University, Washington College of Law. Brenda graduated magna cum laude, in the top 10% of her class, with an order of the coif distinction. While in law school, Brenda served as the President of the Women’s Law Association, a student attorney on the International Human Right’s Law Clinic, where she represented asylum-seekers fleeing war crimes and gender-based persecution, and interned with numerous legal organizations, including the Legal Aid Society, and the Tahirih Justice Center, where assisted young girls escaping forced marriages and honor killings in their home countries.
Following her graduation from college, and prior to attending law school, Brenda worked at Safe Horizon, a victim services organization, in Brooklyn, New York, where she provided crisis intervention services to adult and child survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual abuse, including helping them access emergency shelter, apply for protective orders, social services, and counseling.
Brenda received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude with concentrations in Political Science and Hispanic Studies. While in college, Brenda studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she studied human rights violations and wrote a thesis on the plight of mothers searching for their missing children following Argentina’s civil war.
- New Jersey
- New York
Brenda is fluent in written and spoken Spanish.