Event to honor sisters, aid child center

The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County is hosting a fundraising dinner tonight to honor the Henderson sisters for their courage in coming forward as victims of sexual abuse.

Tickets are still available, though 175 people have already RSVP'd, said Diana Schunn, center director. Proceeds go to the center, with a portion to Kellie, Kathie and Rachelle Henderson.

Kellie and Kathie revealed in a December Wichita Eagle story series, "Promise Not to Tell," that they were sexually abused by their Wichita family for 10 years, until 2005 when neighbors and police rescued them.

All three sisters talked about the case on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in February. Their goal was to encourage other victims to come forward to authorities. State Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services investigators said the story prompted several new cases for investigation, and that the girls are heroic for shrugging off the stigma that such abuse can cause.

"We are delighted to be able to publically thank the Henderson sisters for their extraordinary courage and willingness to bring awareness about child abuse into our community and across the nation by sharing their difficult childhood experience," said Schunn.

Among guests will be Jim and Shelly Vasey, the neighbors who turned in the abusers, and several law enforcement officers who helped rescue the sisters.

The Child Advocacy Center serves about 2,500 victims of serious physical abuse, sexual abuse, Internet crimes and human trafficking, as well as runaways, each year.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a presentation starting at 8 at the Wichita Marriott hotel, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $100 a person or $900 for a table of 10. To get tickets, call Mary Starkey at the Child Advocacy Center, 316-337-6598.

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