- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Elizabeth Smart, who was taken captive when she was just 14 and raped for months, has taken a job with ABC News as a commentator focusing on missing-persons and child-abduction cases.

ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend said that Miss Smart, who was kidnapped by a Salt Lake City street preacher, can provide viewers with a unique perspective on such cases.

Ms. Townsend said the deal with the now 23-year-old Miss Smart has been in the works for some time and that Miss Smart could be on the air within the next few weeks.

“We think she’ll help our viewers better understand missing-persons stories,” Ms. Townsend said in a telephone call from New York. “This is someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing.”

Miss Smart was kidnapped from her family home in the dead of night on June 5, 2002, by Brian David Mitchell, an itinerant street preacher whose writings have revealed he took the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl so he could practice polygamy.

Mitchell, 56, was convicted in December on federal charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor across state lines for sex. He was sentenced in May to life in federal prison without parole.

At a news conference after the sentencing, Miss Smart said she was looking forward to a new and “beautiful” next chapter of her life, including working on behalf of missing children.

In an email Thursday, Miss Smart’s spokesman, Chris Thomas, said the Brigham Young University music student wants to use the media position to further her goals.

Elizabeth is committed to giving back and getting involved where she can make the greatest difference through child advocacy work,” Mr. Thomas wrote. “Partnering with ABC provides a powerful tool to help her accomplish this.”

Financial details of Miss Smart’s contract with the network were not disclosed.

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