Kathlynn Shepard, rarely seen without her signature ball cap, loved music, the NFL Vikings and, most of all, animals. Known for her kind heart and broad smile, in May 2013 Kathlynn was doing what any 15-year-old should be able to do safely and without risk — walking home from school with a younger neighborhood friend — when the girls were kidnapped by a previously convicted child predator. Kathlynn was abducted and murdered. Her friend escaped to alert authorities.
The Shepard family launched Kathlynn’s Hope to lead a grassroots movement focused on passing legislation to better protect Iowa’s nearly one million children from sexual predators. Efforts are underway to build an army of Changemakers with a voice so powerful that the state will have to ensure that violent predators who commit the most atrocious crimes against children are put away for life.
Kathlynn’s Hope is powered by Chelsea’s Light, a national coalition of thousands of Changemakers who are dedicated to protecting children and expanding one-strike laws across the country. Through its advocacy arm, Chelsea’s Shield, Chelsea’s Light Foundation provides organizational and logistical support to Kathlynn’s Hope as part of its mission to unite and lead people who are passionate about protecting children and inspiring positive change in their communities.
Kathlynn’s Hope Law will increase penalties, parole provisions and oversight for violent sexual predators who attack children. This life without parole penalty is based on Chelsea’s Law, a one-strike law named after California teen Chelsea King who was killed by a sexual predator paroled after serving just five years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old.