by Michelle Griego and Jennifer Mistrot

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — It was an emotional reunion for a lawyer and her former client as they saw each other for the first time in ten years. Students Rising Above Scholar Donzah Pitre and Alameda County District Attorney Briggette Lowe wept as they embraced, recalling the dark time that brought them together.

“It’s really because of who you were,” Lowe said to Pitre. “You got through that because you’re tough, because you are amazing.”

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Lowe was referring to a criminal court case at which she represented and protected Pitre, then a young teenager. Pitre had suffered a horrific sexual assault before courageously coming forward to face her perpetrator. Back in 2014, she shared the experience of facing her attacker down in court with KPIX 5.

“Telling a story about something that happened while the person who did it is right there,” recalled the then-high school-aged Pitre. “But it’s over and I got help.”

Now Pitre is in a much different place in life, and she eagerly showed Lowe around her new office – Berkeley’s East Bay Community Law Center – where she is apprenticing to become an attorney herself. The two talked shop, which is fitting because Pitre credits Lowe as being the reason she chose to study law.

“I do commend myself at 13, 14 having the courage to say everything that happened,” said Pitre. “Then later on realizing that … I had a really, really great attorney, a really great attorney. She probably doesn’t know the effect that she had on me.”

Pitre never forgot how hard Lowe fought for her, so she called her to reconnect. And now that the two are back in touch, both say they are looking forward to spending more time together.

“Keeping in touch and building a relationship,” said Pitre. “And I never thought I’d have the opportunity to put a relationship with an attorney that worked on my case. So yeah, I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.”

Pitre’s attacker would eventually be sentenced to six years behind bars. And while Lowe could not talk about the specifics of Pitre’s case, she made her intentions clear that fighting for justice for others will always be the driving force in both women’s lives.

“I’m very proud … She’s allowed me to meet her again, allowed me to come into her life again,” said Lowe of Pitre. “And as long as I have breath in my body, I’m going to keep fighting for victims. Cause that’s what, that’s what drives me.”

Michelle Griego