Tuesday, June 11, 2013

IA - Kathlynn Shepard's Death Inspires Governor To Review Sentencing Rules

Governor Terry Branstad
Original Article

We can smell a "Kathlynn's Law" in the works.


By Staci DaSilva

Monday night 15-year old Kathlynn Shepard's community of Dayton, Iowa remembered the innocent girl and coped with the tragic way she died. They covered a tree in purple lights, her favorite color.

Shepard was found dead on Friday. Police say her killer was a convicted sex offender on parole.

On Monday, Governor Terry Branstad announced he wants to review sentencing rules for sex offenders following the tragic story of Kathlynn Shepard.

"I think that it is appropriate that we review these provisions especially if it affects violent sexual predators," said Gov. Branstad.

The Governor of Iowa is taking a stand for 15-year old Kathlynn Shepard and her family, of Dayton, Iowa.

Kathlynn reportedly died of stab wounds and blunt force trauma. Officers say it was [name withheld] who did it. He was a paroled kidnapper and sex offender who committed suicide after taking Shepard.

Imprisoned for nearly 20 years, [name withheld] had been denied parole 3 times by his board. He was released in 2011.

"They felt that he was a high risk and they chose not to parole him. But unfortunately, under the law, he could only be held so long and he served out under the present law which automatically reduces the sentence to less than half," said Gov. Branstad.

As it stands right now, prisoners like [name withheld] are rewarded 1.2 days off their sentence for every one day they serve.

With the legislature currently out of session, there are no immediate plans on the books to make any changes.

So what can you do locally to keep your children safe?

Sioux City's Mercy Child Advocacy Center has a program called "Darkness to Light." It's a training program for adults that teaches them what to tell kids so they avoid getting in the hands of someone like [name withheld].

Here's just one example: "If someone that they don't know is talking to them, to turn and go the other way. If someone, tries to grab them, to scream, to shout out, to fight back," said Mercy Child Advocacy Center's Sherrie Schweder.

Just contact the Mercy Child Advocacy Center if you're interested in learning more about that program at (712) 279-2548.

Also, over 90% of child abuse cases are committed by someone the child knows.

So try to stay connected to your child as much as possible, and contact a specialist if you notice any erratic changes in behavior.

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1 comment :

Mark said...

"We can smell a "Kathlynn's Law" in the works." "Smell?" This stinks to high heaven. You see, they are always ready to pass laws like that solves everything. Occasions like these are used to create draconian laws. Do as we say, but not as we do; ad nausea. Watch out for all the back slapping too after these type laws are passed.