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Ramsey County prosecutor honored for work with child abuse victims

Ramsey County prosecutors believe the room, inspired by Eric Leonard, will help kids feel comfortable and help bring justice for years to come

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Ramsey County prosecutor is being honored for his hard work to achieve justice for some of the most vulnerable children.

Eric Leonard, a prosecutor with the office for more than 20 years, died of lung cancer at the age of 55 last year. His colleagues say he worked relentlessly as a prosecutor and advocate for child abuse victims.

Now he's being honored with a room within the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office that's inspired by him and his legacy.

Art, plants, and a feeling like you're at home is exactly what early childhood education expert, artist and author Ara Elizabeth was going for. She wants someone who walks into the newly transformed conference room at the Ramsey County Attorney's Office to feel comfort.

The room is a place where prosecutors interview child abuse victims.

"It was creating a space where kids could come in and feel relaxed, more at ease, some trust," said Ara Elizabeth.

"Sometimes for these young people to have to recount what happened to the court, in front of all these people, is exceptionally difficult, and Eric made it easier for children to recount their victimization and provided support for them," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

"When you spoke with Eric, whether you are an adult or child, you were the only person that mattered. And that came through loud and clear in the courtroom and in the conference room,” said prosecutor Jill Gerber.

"What I wanted to do here is give off Eric's vibe of the room. Eric's not here physically, but just that feeling of feeling nurtured," said Ara Elizabeth.

Ramsey County prosecutors believe this room will help kids feel comfortable and help bring justice for years to come.

"I think it is so welcoming, certainly in the spirit of everything Eric stood for,” said Choi.

Eric Leonard was survived by his wife and three children.