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Plans Announced To Extend Chelsea’s Law To Illinois And Texas

Evening Edition

The father of murdered San Diego teen Chelsea King wants to make sure violent sex offenders stay off the streets of more states than just California. KPBS video journalist Katie Euphrat has more on an effort to bring Chelsea’s Law to Illinois and Texas.

Chelsea King

Above: Chelsea King

— The father of slain Poway High School senior Chelsea King announced plans today to extend the heart of Chelsea’s Law to Illinois and Texas. Brent King and former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher made the announcement at a news conference in Balboa Park Friday.

Legislation in both states would enforce the heart of Chelsea’s Law, imprisoning for life those who commit certain violent sexual crimes against children.

A spokeswoman said the law would be tailored to each state, where there are currently less harsh penalties for such crimes.

Three years ago, 17-year-old Chelsea King went for a run and never came back. Registered sex offender John Gardner was later convicted of raping and murdering King. He admitted to killing a second girl, 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido, one year earlier. Gardner is now serving a life sentence at the California State Prison at Corcoran.

Brent King hopes violent sex offenders in Illinois and Texas will soon meet the same fate.

“My goal is to have Chelsea’s Law in every state," he said. "At the end of the day, the real objective is a one-strike law that says, ‘If you harm a child, you’re done, you go away for life.’ There doesn’t need to be a second victim.”

Fletcher, who ran for mayor in November and now works for Qualcomm, authored Chelsea’s Law when he was a Republican assemblyman. It was signed into California law on September 9, 2010.

John Albert Gardner III pleads not guilty to murder and other charges in the ...
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Above: John Albert Gardner III pleads not guilty to murder and other charges in the case involving 17-year-old Chelsea King in San Diego Superior Court on Wednesday March 3, 2010.

Chelsea King's parents Brent and Kelly King
Enlarge this image

Above: Chelsea King's parents Brent and Kelly King

“We saw the legislature come together to solve a problem," he said. "Now we need to see that same legislative body come together to see that it’s properly implemented and enforced. But I think that that same spirit will carry us through to other states.”

In its first year, Chelsea’s Law created stricter penalties for 19 convicted sex offenders in San Diego County. A study conducted by the King family’s nonprofit, Chelsea’s Shield, shows that more than 40 people in San Diego County have been charged under Chelsea’s Law.

The nonprofit estimates that most people convicted of raping children in the U.S. are imprisoned for between three and seven years.

Chelsea King’s parents now live with their son Tyler in Illinois, but they’re in town for the annual Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K this Saturday at 7:30 a.m. in Balboa Park.

Hearings for the newly-introduced legislation in Texas and Illinois are expected within a few months. Then, Brent King will be attempting to bring the legislation to Ohio, and more states in the near future.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 1, 2013 at 2:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 12 months ago

I mean no disrespect to this girl's memory, but do all these laws really work?

They are expensive, have seriously civil liberty issues, and are based more on emotion than fact.

As tragic as this cirme was, being raped and murdered by a stranger has odds less than getting stuck by lightening.

We should not be using these extremely rare crimes to make laws that impact a broader range of sex offenders, some of whom are on these "registries" for realtively minor crimes.

The majority of child molestation and sexual assaults occur WITHIN FAMILIES and amongst PEOPLE THE VICTIMS KNOW.

Yes, despite, this, all these laws are tailored after the very rare crimes of stranger abductions.

Meagan's Law.

Jessica's Law.

Chelsea's Law.

Amber's Alert.

And those are just off the top of my head, I'm sure many states have oodles more of these laws named after sex crimes.

There needs to be a moratorium on these things so we can, with actual data, find out what works and what doesn't.

Maybe part of the reason Mr. Garder fell off the radar of law enforcement is because we have cast such a wide-net for the sex offender registry that there are too many people to track and the serious ones are able to go under the radar as California spends time tracking 25 year old cases of statuatory rape!!

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