Child advocate Elizabeth Smart to speak at CAPA event

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMarch 20, 2012 

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Elizabeth Smart, who overcame being kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002 to become an advocate for children, will speak at a rally next month hosted by the Child Abuse Prevention Association of Beaufort.

CAPA announced Tuesday that Smart, 24, will be the keynote speaker at its "Step Up For Kids" gathering on April 20 at the Performing Arts Center at Bluffton High School, according to a news release.

In a story that gained international media attention, Smart was kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah at age 14 and rescued nine months later from the home of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Illeen Barzee, who were later arrested.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for abducting and sexually assaulting the teen, and Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her role in the kidnapping.

Smart has lobbied Congress to pass more stringent sexual predator laws.

Susan Cato, executive director of CAPA, said the organization is proud to host someone whose story does so much to bring awareness to childrens' issues.

"CAPA is excited about this unique opportunity to bring Elizabeth Smart here with her powerful message about her abduction and recovery, which motivates parents, law enforcement and leaders worldwide to focus on children's safety," Cato said in a statement.

Tickets for the rally are $15, and a private reception is being planned for sponsors and those who purchase $100 premier tickets, the release said.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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