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Tougher Penalties For Child Sex Offenders Sought

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Tougher Penalties For Child Sex Offenders Sought

The parents of Kathlynn Shepard are joining with a nonprofit group to push for tougher penalties in Iowa for sex offenders who target children. Kathlynn Shepard, a 15-year-old from Dayton, was abducted along with a 12-year-old girl on May 19. The 12-year-old escaped, while Shepard’s body was found weeks later in the Des Moines River. The man alleged to have kidnapped and killed Shepard, 42-year-old Michael Klunder, took his own life hours after the kidnapping. Klunder was released from prison in 2011 after serving less than half of a 41-year sentence for convictions related to two kidnappings in 1991. Kathlynn’s father, Michael Shepard, spoke about his daughter at a news conference in Dayton…

The news conference was held under the “Tree of Hope,” named in memory of Kathlynn. Joining Shepard was Brent King. His family formed the Chelsea’s Light Foundation. The foundation pushed legislation in California to ensure those who commit violent crimes against children are put behind bars for life…

Chelsea’s Law, passed in California in 2010, is named for King’s 17-year-old daughter who was raped and killed in a San Diego park by a paroled sex offender. King said Chelsea’s Light Foundation will provide legal and financial help to the Shepard family as they prepare a bill to present to the Iowa legislature. Governor Terry Branstad and key lawmakers have said they are open to considering sentencing changes in the wake of Kathlynn’s death.

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