CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Anne Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced today that she will be stepping down from her role effective March 9.
Tompkins, one of an historic number of openly lesbian or gay federal appointees during President Barack Obama’s administration, was appointed to her role by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April 2010.
She led an extraordinary effort in the Western District to prosecute several financial crimes, including multi-milllion dollar investment schemes, securities fraud cases and mortgage fraud conspiracies, according to her office’s press release. She also focused on heath care fraud and worked to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against children and other sex crime victims.
It was also under Tompkins tenure that former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was investigated, arrested, charged and convicted on federal public corruptions charges.
“Protecting the integrity of government and public institutions from corruptions has been another area of focus for Ms. Tompkins,” the press release reads. “Under Ms. Tompkins’ leadership, the Office has prosecuted a number of public corruption cases involving police officers and city employees, including the recent prosecution of Charlotte’s former mayor.”
Tompkins’ time at the Western District will also be remembered for its trailblazing leadership for the LGBT community. Tompkins worked closely with local school officials to combat bullying and teen dating violence, along with efforts to increase leadership development and promote conflict resolution and race relations.
“My position as U.S. Attorney has given me the opportunity to reach out to young people and empower them to effectuate change in their schools and their environments,” Tompkins said in the release. “[W]e have delivered a powerful message, encouraging our youth to stand up, speak out and become catalysts for change by becoming leaders and positive role models to their peers.”
At the event, Tompkins introduced an “It Gets Better” video and encouraged students to make their schools safer for all.
“Being different is good,” she said. “It makes life better. It makes it special.”
Tompkins, a graduate of West Charlotte High School, wasn’t afraid to openly acknowledge her sexual orientation to students.
“I am a gay woman,” she said to students’ applause, “and I am living proof that it does get better.”
In 2013, Tompkins continued her anti-bullying push, appearing at an anti-bullying panel discussion in Charlotte sponsored by the National PTA and Discovery Education.
Tompkins’ commitment to the safety and inclusion of LGBT people, along with other minorities and marginalized groups, was mentioned in her departure announcement on Monday.
“During her tenure, Ms. Tompkins’ Office has organized events focused on outreach, awareness, and training, in the areas of human trafficking, gang prevention, focused deterrence, the Bank Secrecy Act, Project Safe Neighborhoods, domestic violence and prescription drugs,” the release reads. “In addition, Ms. Tompkins has engaged in extensive outreach to the LGBT, Arab-Muslim and Sikh communities, and has met with leaders of numerous faith-based organizations.”