DAYTON, Iowa — The parents of Kathlynn Shepard, the Iowa teen who was kidnapped and murdered last month by a paroled convict, are teaming up with Chelsea’s Light to help pass a law that will protect Iowa children from the tragedy they suffered recently.
Kathlynn’s Law would be based on a similar measure called Chelsea’s Law, which passed in California in 2010. That law was named after Chelsea King, a 17-year San Diego girl who was raped and murdered by a man who was out on parole after serving just five years in prison for sexually assaulting his 13-year-old neighbor.
In addition to a one-strike provision for sexual predators who rape children, Chelsea’s Law enhanced monitoring of paroled sex offenders and other criminals thought to be dangerous to children.
Michael and Denise Shepard are working with Chelsea’s Light, the organization founded by Chelsea’s parents, Brent and Kelly King, to help strengthen Iowa’s laws and protect others from tragedies like the one their family is suffering.
“Michael and Denise are overwhelmed with grief over the loss of Kathlynn, but like our family, they want to channel their grief toward a measure that can help prevent known dangerous criminals from preying on someone else’s child,” said Brent King. “Nothing can bring Kathlynn back, but they can honor her memory by helping to make Iowa’s children safer through Kathlynn’s Song Law.”
King, who championed Chelsea’s Law in California, founded Chelsea’s Light and its legislative-advocacy arm, Chelsea’s Shield, to raise awareness about child sexual assault and pass laws to help prevent it. Since the effort to pass Chelsea’s Law was officially launched in March, legislative efforts to pass the one-strike and other child-safety provisions have moved forward in Illinois, Ohio and Texas.
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