Victoria Ruvolo was named one of the Top 10 People Who Influenced 2005 by The Arts and Entertainment Channel (A & E) and beliefnet.com honored her as the Most Influential Person of 2005 after she appeared in a Suffolk County Court in the spring of 2005 to petition a judge on behalf of the teenager whose reckless act nearly killed her.
Known to many as “The Turkey Lady,” Ruvolo attracted national attention in the fall of 2004 when she was struck in the face with a 20-pound frozen turkey hurled from a passing car by a teenage boy. Her injuries nearly killed her and doctors feared she might not ever fully recover. When she did come home from the hospital nearly three months later, she was not bitter, but curious. She wanted to know more about the “kid” who’d inflicted such harm.
Her willingness to look past the anger and find forgiveness has inspired millions. Because of her intervention, the teenager, Ryan Cushing, who faced up to 25 years on multiple felony charges, was spared a harsh prison sentence. On Ruvolo’s recommendation, he was ordered to spend six months in the county jail, and five years on probation, and to participate in the TASTE program, an innovative new program designed specifically for juveniles sentenced to probation.
Ruvolo’s story has been told in newspapers and magazine across the country, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The San Francisco Examiner. She has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and ABC’s Good Morning America, and her story was also the subject of an A & E special. It was also featured on TLC’s That’s Gotta Hurt with Ruvolo playing herself in the reenactment.
Today, Ruvolo continues to make a difference in the lives of young people and their families. For the last four years, she has been working with Dr. Robert Goldman, speaking to young offenders as part of his groundbreaking TASTE program.
In addition to her work with TASTE, Ruvolo speaks to young people and adults in schools, churches and community centers around the New York Metropolitan area.
Robert Goldman, J.D., Psy.D. is the supervising psychologist for the Suffolk County Probation Department. His work with the County is focused primarily on the juvenile offender population. He is also a criminal attorney in private practice in Long Island, New York.
His first professional experience out of law school was working for Manhattan Attorney Jack Littman as an associate in his criminal defense practice. He later worked for Suffolk County Legal Aid as a staff attorney in the Criminal Bureau. Dr. Goldman then started his own practice in which he engaged in various forms of litigation. He was subsequently appointed to be on the Law Guardian Panel, where he found his true passion in helping children. Consequently, he chose to attend Hofstra University where he received his doctorate in School/Community Psychology.
Dr. Goldman develops programs that combine his experience as a criminal defense attorney and as a psychologist with a goal aimed at reducing the rate of recidivism and placement. He continues to have a private practice in the area of law and has expanded his interests to include alternatives for dispute resolution.
In 2005, Suffolk County retained him to serve as the psychologist for the Suffolk County Department of Probation. That same year, he developed the TASTE program. TASTE, which stands for Thinking Errors, Anger Management, Social Skills, and Talking Empathy, is now being used as a building block for future evidence-based interventions. Dr, Goldman has also spoken to the Suffolk County Legislature about the current restorative justice interventions in Suffolk County.
In its four short years, the program has proven so successful that the chief judge for Suffolk County’s family courts ordered it mandated for all juveniles sentenced to probation.
Dr. Goldman has written for the Suffolk County Bar Association about Restorative Justice and has held numerous conferences on the topic. He has also spoken to the Suffolk County Legislature about the current restorative justice interventions in Suffolk County.
In April 2010, his TASTE program was the subject of a front-page article in The New York Law Journal. Put in Link.
Dr Goldman is founder of Psychological Restorative Solutions, Inc., an organization that assists parties who are embattled in a conflict have a meaningful dialogue with the hopes of reconciling their differences and moving forward. For more information, please visit his website at www.restorativesolution.com.
Lisa Pulitzer is a former correspondent for The New York Times. She is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books in the areas of True Crime and Current Events. She has ghostwritten at least five hardcovers, among them a Number One New York Times bestseller about the Scott Peterson case. Her most recent book, Stolen Innocence, My Story of Growing up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs, written with former Fundamentalist Church of Latter Church Saints (FLDS) member Elissa Wall, was released by William Morrow in May 2008. In its first week, it topped Number Six on the New York Times bestseller list and sold more than 45,000 copies in its first two weeks on the market.
Lisa has just completed Portrait of a Monster, Joran van der Sloot, A Murder in Peru, and the Natalee Holloway Mystery. The book is to be released on July 5, 2011 by St. Martin's Press.
Pulitzer also co-authored Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border with Univision’s Teresa Rodriguez, which was published in both English and Spanish by Simon & Schuster.