Advertisement

La Jollan channels emotions over Chelsea King’s death into fundraiser

RUTH VARONFAKIS

Reeling from the grim news about 17-year-old Chelsea King, Bird Rock resident April Goodjohn said she felt ill. She also wanted to do something.

“When Chelsea died, a cherished daughter, sister and friend was lost in the most terrifying and brutal way,” Goodjohn said. “A bright energetic, thoughtful, community-minded young woman was also snatched from the San Diego community. Chelsea was a shining example of what we all wish for our children.”

Hoping to prevent another family from experiencing such a senseless loss and with increasing public groundswell demanding the need for changing existing child predator laws, Goodjohn took to the Internet to investigate options.

That search led to the discovery of Stop Child Predators, an organization working to pass legislation for mandatory prison terms for sexual offenses against children, including life imprisonment and the death penalty for repeat offenders.

Now she’s reaching out to friends and anyone who shares her concern, seeking donations for the organization.

Stacy Rumenap, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, explained that the organization was founded five years ago after the Jessica Lunsford case in which the 9-year-old was abducted, raped and killed by a two-time convicted sex offender living across the street from her home.

“Enough is enough,” Rumenap said in a recent phone conversation. “Our organization’s premise is to go state by state to toughen existing laws.”

Despite increasing expenses to states’ depleted budgets, Rumenap said, “There will always be a debate on how to spend state dollars, but we need to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”

Goodjohn, who noted that “Chelsea was bright, caring and ambitious and will never realize her potential because of a monstrous predator and a flawed system,” said response to her initial contacts has been overwhelming.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, at 5627 La Jolla Blvd., will accept donations until 6 p.m. March 19. Checks should be made out to Stop Child Predators, said Goodjohn, who will

turn over the proceeds to the group on behalf of the La Jolla community.

“No life, especially a young one, should end at the hands of a violent criminal. I hope that in some small way, this collection in Chelsea’s honor will communicate our community’s support for the King family and help to make sure our legal system can prevent the pain and suffering Chelsea experienced from ever finding another victim,” she added.

For more information about Stop Child Predators, visit www.stopchildpredators.org or call (202) 248-7052.