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Notorious attacker faces charge of failing to register as sex offender

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Twenty-two years ago, Pam Lychner became a crime victim, but she refused to be just a victim. She started on a mission that changed Houston and even federal laws. Well now, her attacker has been arrested again and it has to do with that crime from 1990.

William David Kelley, you could say, inspired the creation of a crime victim's group by committing crimes.

He was arrested this week and is now back behind bars. He was nabbed by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force and the sheriff's sex offender tracking squad for failure to update his address in the sex offender registry. He may never be off law enforcement's radar, and one of his victims is the reason why.

Kelley was a twice convicted sex offender when he targeted victim No. 3, a young wife and mother named Pam Lychner. She was a realtor showing a Houston home when Kelley showed up. He choked her and tried to kidnap her, but he never counted on her husband being upstairs. We spoke to Joe Lychner by phone Friday night.

"When he was released after serving his time, I thought, well it won't be very long before he's back inside again," he said.

Andy Kahan was in his first few months as a victim's advocate when he met the Lychners. Kelley had been sentenced to 20 years for attempted kidnapping. He was up for parole within two years.

"And as Pam put it best, that is enough, I'm no longer cowering to this guy and I'm going to come out blazing and the rest was history," Kahan said.

From that, the Justice for All movement was born. It was founded by Pam. Her work ended the state's mandatory prison release policy and elevated the cause of crime victims' rights. The Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996, which established the National Sex Offender Registry that the FBI uses to track certain sex offenders, also is named in her honor.

Sixteen years ago, she and her two young daughters were killed in a TWA flight explosion near New York. But her work lives on, and certainly less than two years after his release from prison, Kelley is still feeling the impact of that. He's back in jail.

"What do you think Pam would be saying?" we asked Joe.

"I think she would be saying, 'I told you so,'" he said.

And in her honor....

"And we'll be down there keeping an eye on him again, and once again the eyes of Harris County, the eyes of Houston and the eyes of Texas will be on William David Kelley," Kahan said.

Kelley was required to register as a sex offender with the sheriff's office every 90 days, but hadn't done so since May 2011. Failure to do so is considered a felony crime. Kelley is being held in the county jail without bond.

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