Ms. Abrecht was born in 1945 in Massachusetts where she attended public schools until entering Mount Holyoke College. After earning her B.A. in 1967 she began graduate work at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1968, she moved to Washington, DC and worked as a substitute teacher in elementary schools in Anacostia before becoming a policewoman with the Youth Division of the Metropolitan Police Department in December of 1968. She earned a Certificate in the Administration of Justice from American University in 1970. As Policewomen’s Coordinator in 1971 to 1972, she assisted the Department in eliminating sex discrimination in the hiring and assignment of women. From September 1972 until becoming an Assistant United States Attorney in March 1975, she served as the first female Patrol Sergeant in the Third District. She attended Georgetown University Law Center part-time while working as a police officer and received her J.D. degree in 1974.
For the last fifteen and a half years, Mary Ellen Abrectht has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. In addition to extensive work as a trial and appellate attorney, she held several supervisory positions including Deputy Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney, Deputy Chief of the Grand Jury/Intake Section of the Superior Court Division, Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division and, most recently,
Training Director. In 1986 and 1987 she was detailed to the United States Sentencing Commission as Counsel to the Chairman. She received Special Achievement Awards for Sustained Superior Performance in 1980, 1984, and 1989. In 1988 she received the national Director’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Managerial Role. She has served in the Legal Ethics Committee of the D.C. Bar since 1988.
She has been marries since 1986 to Gary Lorne Abrecht, currently a Deputy Chief of Police for D.C. They have two daughters, Karen who is eleven years old and Rachel who is eight, and live in Northeast Washington in a home built by her great-grandfather.