The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 5, 2012

Stanfield gives support to new child abuser law

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
SNAP

Monday, November 5, 2012 — A special resolution was presented to Stanfield's Board of Commissioner's at Thursday's meeting.

Jeff Gerber, founder of the Justice for All Coalition, and Russ Freeze, a volunteer with the Coalition, appeared before the town board and requested that Stanfield adopt a resolution that supports Kilah's Law.

According to a flyer from the organization, the purpose of Kilah's Law is “To introduce tougher state and federal sentencing guidelines for permanent and debilitating physical injury to a child which resulted from abuse and to register those found guilty as a 'Child Abuser' with state and local municipalities.”

The crime of child abuse currently falls under a Class C felony with a 44-92 month possible sentence. Under Kilah's Law, offenders will get 25 years to life and the crime will move to a Class B felony.

Kilah Davenport is a 4-year-old girl who suffered from extreme child abuse at the hands of her stepfather, who is currently incarcerated at a Union County jail.

“Kirbi Davenport left Kilah at home with her husband, Kilah's stepfather, to go to work,” said  Freeze. “It was just a normal night. Well, it was not a normal day or night. Unbeknownst to Kirbi, her husband physically abused Kilah.

“He put her through a wall, fractured her skull, broke her collarbone and caused 90 percent brain damage. After he did this, he didn't call 911. He left her alone for five hours, until she started having seizures. Then he called 911.”

Because of her maltreatment, Kilah's life was in danger and she was forced to undergo extensive surgery.

Currently, Kilah is having to relearn how to eat. She will have to relearn how to walk, talk and all of the skills that a child learns during this developmental stage. Kilah will have to go through lifelong rehabilitation because of this ordeal.

“We're trying to have the sentencing guidelines raised on this crime. Currently, the crime falls under the same punishment as abusing your pet,” said Freeze.

“I've already spoken with 16 municipalities and I have nine more scheduled in the next two to three weeks,” said Gerber.

“It is our job to give the judiciaries the tools they need,” said Gerber in reference to getting the law passed.

The Stanfield Board of Commissioners voted to sign the resolution in support of Kilah's Law.

“Your constituents should be proud of you,” Gerber said to the board after they passed the resolution.

The Justice for All Coalition will present this proposed law along with all of the municipality resolutions and the petition in January to the NC General Assembly for consideration.

The Davenport family has formed the Kilah Davenport Foundation in order to help others who have suffered from child abuse and is currently arranging to make the organization a 501(c)3 non-profit.

For more information on Kilah and Kilah's Law, visit teamkilah.wordpress.com. To view and sign the petition for Kilah's Law, visit change.org/petitions/stop-child-abusers-stop-child-abusers-make-them-regis ter-just-like-sex-offenders.