May 2, 2013
Contact: Rachel Laing
Chris Kelly, a former Facebook executive who authored and financed a highly successful California initiative to stop sex trafficking, has joined the effort to pass Chelsea’s Law in all 50 states.
Signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, after unanimously passing both houses of the California Legislature, Chelsea’s Law is a one-strike mandate for sexual predators convicted of a violent sexual assault on a child. It’s named after Chelsea King, a 17-year-old San Diego teen who was brutally raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender who was paroled after serving five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. The perpetrator subsequently confessed to the rape and murder of another San Diego girl, 14-year-old Amber Dubois, who had been missing for several months.
Kelly, who is best known for his former role as chief privacy officer and general counsel at Facebook Inc., has long advocated for better protections for children against sexual predators. Working with state legislators, he championed legislation in many states including California expanding Megan’s Law sex offender registration requirements to include online aliases to help prevent sex crimes originating on the internet.
Being blocked by the California legislature led to Kelly’s authoring and financing Proposition 35, a voter initiative on California’s November 2012 ballot that increases fines and prison sentences for human trafficking and requires convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders, as well as to disclose their identities and activities online. The initiative received bipartisan support and was approved by a record 81 percent of California’s voters – garnering over 10 million votes, more votes than any person or initiative had previously received in the history of the State of California.
Through his advocacy on legislation that helps combat sex crimes against children, Kelly was connected with Brent and Kelly King, Chelsea’s parents, and was inspired by their efforts to spare other families from the tragedy they endured. In his role with Chelsea’s Shield, Kelly will advocate on behalf of the law and has pledged financial support for the group’s lobbying and outreach activities.
“Brent and Kelly’s unimaginable pain in losing their daughter Chelsea led them to demand better public policy for the State of California,” Kelly said. “I am proud to join with them and the Chelsea’s Shield organization in taking Chelsea’s Law and common sense public policy around attacks on children to all 50 states.”
Since the effort to take Chelsea’s Law to other states was officially launched in March, bills with the one-strike and other child-safety provisions have been introduced in Illinois, Ohio and Texas. The Texas House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill (HR 1748) next week.
Brent King, Chelsea’s father and the founder of Chelsea’s Shield, said Kelly’s commitment to share his voice in advocating for measures that protect children from sexual predators will be enormously helpful in expanding Chelsea’s Law to all 50 states.