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Domestic-violence victims advocate dies

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An attorney known for devoting time to work with domestic-violence victims and nonprofit organizations has died.

Deborah K. Hepler, 56, Carmel, died Oct. 5. She had suffered from breast cancer.

Hepler, born Nov. 8, 1952, in Mishawaka, is perhaps best known for founding the Protective Order Pro Bono Project of Greater Indianapolis in 2000. The program, now a part of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is still going strong with advocates in Marion County Court and regular trainings. Hepler remained active with the project and at a training session in May, she discussed ethical issues for pro bono attorneys.

She graduated from Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis in 1994 and served as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

She also worked for Locke Reynolds in Indianapolis and had taught as an adjunct law professor at the Indianapolis law school. At the time of her death, she was general counsel for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

She was a member of the boards for the Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence, Indiana Legal Services Inc., and the Domestic Violence Network of Greater Indianapolis. She was also on the board of the Carmel Community Players.

In recognition of her efforts in the fight against domestic violence, she received the 2005 Alumna of the Year from the Indiana University School of Law Alumni Network, the 2005 Chancellor's Community Award for Excellence in Civil Engagement, and the 2001 Prelude to Light Award by the Domestic Violence Network of Greater Indianapolis.

Hepler recently celebrated 37 years of marriage to her husband, Jay Hepler, who survives. Other survivors include children, Eric and Anne Hepler.

A celebration of her life will be at the Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 E. 71st St., Indianapolis, Oct. 11 at 3:30 p.m. Judge McKinney, along with family and friends, will share their memories about Hepler.

ILS Board president Paul A. Leonard Jr. said in a statement that Hepler's daughter has requested people wear purple or red - Hepler's favorite colors.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Protective Order Pro Bono Project of Greater Indianapolis through the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at (317) 917-3685.

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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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