Abducted Teen's Experience Fuels Fight for Stricter Sentences

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Byline: Dan Rozek Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer

Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candy Lightner started the national organization after her daughter was killed by a drunken driver.

John Walsh organized national efforts to protect children after his son, Adam, was kidnapped from a Florida shopping center and murdered.

Philip Andrew, chairman of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, began working for stricter gun laws after he was wounded in Laurie Dann's 1988 Winnetka shooting spree.

And now a 17-year-old Bloomingdale girl who was kidnapped outside Woodfield Shopping Center and sexually abused earlier this year is determined to change state sentencing laws to lock up repeat sex offenders for life.

The teenager wants the stricter law to be her strongest memory of the attack, allegedly committed by a convicted child-killer with a long history of assaulting women.

"It would be much easier for me to forget about this," said Angela, who asked that her last name not be publicized. "But it's really important to me to turn this to something positive."

It's been a sudden transformation from crime victim to activist. But experts say it can be therapeutic.

"It's a very positive and constructive response," said Loyola University criminologist Arthur J. Lurigio. "We see some (crime victims) become empowered and they become very aggressive in helping other victims."

On Friday, the teenager and her parents delivered petitions to Senate President James "Pate" Philip calling for changes in sentencing laws

The man charged in her attack, 47-year-old Robert R. Koppa, was released from prison last year after serving less than 15 years for murdering a 15-year-old Chicago girl and attacking two other women.

He is charged with kidnapping Angela from a Woodfield parking lot and then sexually abusing her. …