The Ellis County Attorney’s Office was filled with friends, co-workers, attorneys and City of Hays and Ellis County employees on Wednesday bidding farewell to Assistant Ellis County Attorney Crystalyn Oswald.
Oswald attended the University of Kansas School of Law before coming to Ellis County in 2013.
Her job duties included splitting person felonies with County Attorney Tom Drees with a focus on prosecuting sex crime cases when they came up.
“Ever since I attended law school and did my internship at Douglas County, I knew that’s what I wanted to specialize in,” Oswald said. “When I came here, (Drees) was nice enough to let me start working on them.”
Prosecuting sex offenders is what Oswald is passionate about, as she feels sex crime victims are the most vulnerable.
“When you have a murder, there are often gunshots, witnesses or someone calling it in. When there is a burglary, people want their stuff back, so they are quick to report it,” Oswald said. “When someone is violated, they are not quick to call. They are quick to hide it — particularly if the offender is someone close to them.”
She feels satisfaction in helping a victim get justice.
Oswald was approached by the new district attorney in Wyandotte County, Mark Dupree, about a position as a sex crimes prosecutor. Oswald accepted the job and will start Jan. 9.
“I have loved my time here in Hays,” Oswald said. “I was very lucky and consider myself quite fortunate for this to be my first real career move out of law school.”
Oswald said Drees has been a fantastic boss who let her hit the ground running and gave her numerous opportunities that she would not have gotten at a larger office.
“It was fantastic to get out here and get this much experience in this wide variety of ways,” Oswald said. “But I also really like the community.”
She has been involved in the Hays Rotary Club and First Call for Help of Ellis County, served as the president of the Ellis County Bar Association, and has gotten to know the police officers, their families and other members of the community very well over the last three years.
“It’s very difficult to leave, because I like the people out here so much,” Oswald said.
Moving back to the Kansas City area will bring her closer to her own family, however.
Drees said Oswald has done an excellent job during her time here. He feels her stay was too short and they will miss her, but Drees acknowledges the great career opportunity the new position provides.
“Our loss is their gain,” Drees said.
Oswald said she is looking forward to being closer to family as well as the opportunity to focus exclusively on sex crimes.
“I’m moving back closer to my family, but it’s hard to leave here, because I feel like I kind of made a family here,” Oswald said. “It’s hard to say goodbye.”