The ALLY Foundation was established in memory of Alexandra Nicole Zapp, our loving daughter, sister and friend, who was murdered by a repeat sex offender on July 18, 2002. The Foundation, founded and run by Ally’s mother and stepfather, has a mission to prevent opportunities for violent sex offenses, to educate the public and advocate for necessary changes in culture, attitude and policy It strives to celebrate Alexandra’s memory with the same charitable and compassionate spirit that guided her throughout her short life.
Like so many families whose children have been taken from them by convicted sex offenders, Andrea and Steve first set out to fix the specific loophole that may have prevented Ally’s death. While working to solve the gaps in Massachusetts’ civil commitment law, they soon realized that the entire way we deal with sex offenders is too fragmented and inconsistent to be effective. It was clear that a piecemeal approach had been taken towards sex offender management and that no one had ever stepped back to develop a well-thought out system. Such variable procedures do not set consistent standards for offenders and cannot hold them accountable, increasing the risk to the community. Sex offenders cannot be cured but we can do an infinitely better job at managing them once they are in the system. The Foundation works to prevent known offenders from re-offending by creating a dynamic national infrastructure, implementing evidence-based practices nationally, and informing federal, state and local legislation.
After almost eight years of research and exploration, The ALLY Foundation has what it believes to be a comprehensive model that is dynamic, evidenced-based and effective in reducing repeat sex offenses by known offenders. It consists of specialized sex offense courts, state-level multi-disciplinary teams to set consistent guidelines, and an overarching national resource center to offer assistance to the state teams and information and resources to the general public.
The driving principal behind this system is that models, communication and adaptability are necessary to handle this large and complex problem often shrouded in secrecy and shame. The three-pronged system aims to promote best practices while being able to respond to new circumstances and research. With a 400% increase in convicted sex offenders during the past decade, these management issues will not go away.