Driver woman organizes ride against child abuse

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

Motorcycles line up at 2011’s Katelynn Stinnett National Memorial Ride in Hampton Roads. Organizers plans to host the event at Sleepy Hole Park in Suffolk next year.

The national coordinator of a group holding a Virginia Beach-based motorcycle ride Saturday to combat child abuse is planning to base next year’s event at North Suffolk’s Sleepy Hole Park.

Karen Fann, a resident of Driver, took the helm of the Katelynn Stinnett National Memorial Ride after its founder, Leslie “Crickett” Lanham-Lee, was murdered in her Kentucky home on March 4, 2011, just one week after receiving a state award for child abuse awareness work.

Lanham-Lee’s husband has been accused in her murder. His jury trial in Greenup Circuit Court has been set for Oct. 1, a clerk of the court said.

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Stinnett was two years old when murdered in Lexington by her babysitter, Brian Crabtree, currently serving life in prison.

Fann works in the entertainment industry doing promotions and management, and in 2009 she had fielded an inquiry for one of her clients, Molly Hatchet, to play at a KSNMR event.

“She explained it to me, and I was like, this is something I could get behind,” Fann said.

Lanham-Lee had founded KSNMR in 2008, raising money to help pay for Stinnett’s funeral and headstone.

Several motorcyclists have already registered for Saturday’s ride, one of 27 happening around the country roughly simultaneously.

Many will be from a local group founded and also directed by Fann, the Freedom Angelz, which not only helps fight child abuse, but also domestic abuse, hunger and other issues.

Money raised from the ride, which will meander around Hampton Roads but not reach Suffolk, goes to raise awareness of child abuse and to “agencies that are already in place and already have programs in place to help the victims,” Fann said.

“The main thing is getting out awareness of how many children are abused that aren’t reported,” Fann said.

The ride leaves from and returns to Scandals Restaurant and Lounge in Virginia Beach, with live music, raffles and other prizes planned.

But Sleepy Hole Park would be a more family-friendly venue for the event, Fann said.

“It has been my goal to have a more family-oriented event,” she added, saying that kids’ activities like face painting would be included.

She also plans to have a company at the park taking children’s fingerprints and photographs and recording identifying information such as blood type, all of which would be added to a national database to help keep children safe.