At a time of tremendous loss and sadness, former Naperville residents Brent and Kelly King are now fighting for justice in the name of their murdered daughter.
It was just a little over a month ago when Kelly and Brent King experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. Their 17 year old daughter Chelsea, murdered and raped according to police, at the hands of a convicted sex offender.
Up until three years ago, the Kings lived in Naperville before moving to San Diego. Their ties to this town still very tight, as evident during a recent trip back to Naperville.
“We felt it was really important to come here and celebrate her life,” said Brent.
“It was so uplifting,” said Kelly. “Seeing everyone again, familiar faces, adults and kids that Chelsea had grown up with. It felt so good.”
The Kings, not only in mourning, struggle to come to terms with a legal system they say failed their daughter.
“How many times before our legislators actually hear us? At what point in time are the good people going to get fed up and say enough’s enough. We don’t want another predator taking our child,” said Brent.
The Kings are hoping something good will come out of their loss. And they’re working with their local California congressman to draft a new law-a bolder and smarter law called Chelsea’s Law.
“What we are crafting is that we don’t believe that sexual predators, known sexual predators, should be able to be released,” said Brent.
“And the laws that are presently on the books aren’t able to do what needs to be done,” added Kelly.
The Chelsea King tragedy has captured national attention, and renewed scrutiny of laws governing sex offenders. The King’s are hoping once Chelsea’s Law passes in California, other states will follow suit. But in the meantime, there’s a push by more legislators to help keep kids safe.
Here in Illinois, new legislation introduced by State Senator Kirk Dillard restricting sex offenders from visiting all pubic parks was recently unanimously approved by the Illinois Senate.
Still, some argue the laws can only go so far in protecting children.
“Banning them from geographic areas is not going do any good,” said Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Donahue. “You have to monitor these individuals and you have to use current technology in order to do that.”
Meanwhile, the Kings are leaving nothing to chance. They’ve set up a foundation in their daughter’s honor called Chelsea’s Light, already with nearly 65,000 members on its Facebook page.
“That’s the goal of this foundation to give children a voice. The role of Chelsea’s Light is to create a voice,” sad Brent.
In addition to a Facebook page, the Foundation also has a website: www.chelseaslight.org.
And one final note, all 50 states now have laws requiring sex offenders to register and report regularly to authorities. The names, addresses and photos of local offenders are posted on the DuPage County Sheriff’s website. A quick check on that website shows in DuPage County more than 300 registered sex offenders. There’s now even a smart phone app with instant updates on sex offenders in the area.
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