Irvine Befuddled DA Tony Rackauckas on Perverts-in-the-Park Debate

sharkwater.jpg
Larry, Sukhee & Beth: The water's safe!
Having lost his push to get a defiant Irvine City Council to adopt his proposed ordinance banning convicted sex offenders from public parks, a befuddled Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas left Tuesday night's session and immediately thought about a scene from the blockbuster 1970s movie Jaws.

Despite evidence there's a hungry, killer Great White shark swimming in the coastal town's waters featured in the film, the town's mayor--worried mostly about commerce--urges everyone to not be afraid and go back into the recently bloody water.

"That's what Irvine did tonight," Rackauckas told an aide. "They said, 'Don't worry. We're safe enough. Go back into the water.'"

It was Larry Agran's Democratic political machine--the one that controls Irvine with a 3-2 council majority--that insisted Tuesday night there is no need for Rackauckas' proposed ordinance, bitterly complained about an "outsider" giving the city advice on how to govern, and repeatedly equated its own brilliance with Irvine's low crime rate.

Despite reassuring everyone that danger (in the form of perverts) isn't lurking in the city's parks, Agran was wise enough to know his machine couldn't block the proposed ordinance outright. That would hand Irvine Republicans an easy campaign issue. The council majority--Agran, Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang--voted to ban from parks only persons who have been convicted of committing sex crimes against minors.

But this afternoon, Rackauckas told me that the council's move was weak because it doesn't block rapists, pornographers and flashers from cruising parks.

"I respect Irvine's officials," he said. "It's their city. It's been one of the safest in America for several years, but I think they've made a mistake."

Asked to respond to Krom's brazen, arrogant insistence that he mind his own business, Rackuackas chuckled.

"Well, I feel this issue is a countywide problem," the DA said. "We've banned all sex offenders from county parks, and I just don't want to see those types of people move to city parks like the ones in Irvine. I consider pushing for an ordinance in all the county's cities part of my job."

Jeff Lalloway, one of two Republicans on the council and the person who suggested Irvine pass Rackauckas' ordinance, praises the DA for weighing in.

"I'm really grateful for what he's done," Lalloway said of Rackauckas, who twice attended Irvine City Council meetings to lobby for the ordinance. "And I am saddened and disappointed the council didn't go far enough. But I won't give up. This issue is too important for our residents."

The city of Westminster adopted the ordinance, and according to Susan Kang Schroeder, the DA's chief of staff, her office is working to passing the measure in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Rancho Santa Margarita.

"We are hoping the county's other cities pass a stronger ordinance [than Irvine's] because that would ban violent rapists and child pornographers," said Schroeder.

Does the DA have any worries about a future constitutional challenge to the ban?

"No," he said, "but I'm sure somebody who is arrested soon in a park will try."

At least 44 registered sex offenders live in Irvine (and dozens more in surrounding cities), but only four are on parole and, thus, banned from entering the city's parks.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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8 comments
MichaelRS
MichaelRS

Before any city considers an ordinance like this they should put "out there" how many sex crimes were commited in their parks, by current registered sex offenders, in the last 3-5 years.

In Huntinton Beach there were 6 sex crimes arrest  last year.  Not all were prosecuted and NONE were by current RSOs.

In Irvine, there were no sex cirmes arrest relating to city parks at all for the last 5 years.

I am sure the county and other cites are/were much the same before they passed their ordinances

In Fullerton, where the DA likes to say this all got started, they handled it by passin an ordinance banning RSO from loitering in the parks without other law business. As did Orange and Tustin. That way an RSO can still play Frisbee with friends, have a pic-nic with his family (including his kids), or walk his dog...Just not 40 times past the jungle gym play area.

As Councilwoman Krom said, this is a solution looking for a problem.

What I like to know is why they want to ban RSOs, who have no history of attacking stranger children, but wont do anything about active gang members.  How may ex cons gang bangers, guilting of everything from murder, to car jacking to assualt & battery to robbery to drug dealing to weapons possession charges, etc., etc.,etc. How come thye all still get to go to the parks?

Ever go to Irvine Regional park on a holiday weekend?  It looks like the prison yard at San Quentin.

And what about those with prior drug dealing convictions.  Drug dealers have ruined more young lives and families than any ten molester put together.  but they still get to use the parks.

All these get to use the parks...as long as they behave themselves while there.  Other than those classified as Sexual Violent Predators (SVPs) It should be the same for RSOs.

Rudy101
Rudy101

It is amazing.  Every legislature is making out laws to ban dangerous people from the community.  Some communities have yet to take the action of passing the legislation.  Somehow or another, a person on a registry for whatever reason, has no voice in ANY law passed against him regardless of ANY circumstances.  

Some laws only ban some people, some laws ban everyone, and some laws will not get passed.  Why?  Because there is DISAGREEMENT on whether the people are actually dangerous on a registry AND whether a law like this will protect children.

Why would there be disagreement between rational people about a group of people, as a whole, as being dangerous?  Maybe because NO COURT has been involved to sort out ANY allegation of dangerousness?

Well,  because of this, all you are going to get is the political answers about dangerousness.

Dangerousness is NOT a poltitical issue when it comes to an individual.  It is between the State, a Court AND an offender.  If you don't get that, and I know you don't, it is a RIGHT to flee the registry and do whatever what one can do to avoid it.   

Stupid people haven't a clue about what they are doing. 

Miranda Veracruz De La Hoya Ca
Miranda Veracruz De La Hoya Ca

Mark Foley and Anthony Weiner also traveled around trying to stiffen sex offender laws. I sense a pattern... Here is a challenge for Mr. Rackauckas:

Dear Tony,

We commend you on your recent efforts to control sex offenders in your community. Without a doubt your region is safer. We believe more can be done. The FBI estimates that only 16% of all sex offenders have been caught and convicted. That means that in your community, 84% of the total actively offending sex offenders still prey on children.

It is imperative for the safety of your community's children and other vulnerable citizens that none of your elected or appointed leaders are part of the majority of sex offenders, those hiding in the shadows, not yet revealed, need I remind you of Anthony Weiner and Mark Foley? Do you wish to be suspected like those men?

We are asking all elected and appointed officials if they would submit to a polygraph test to rule out the possibility that they are part of the 84%.

1. Since reaching the age of 18 have you ever had sexual contact with a family member?2. Since reaching the age of 18 have you ever had sexual contact with a minor?3. Since reaching the age of 18 have you ever had sexual electronic communication with a minor?4. Have you ever had sexual contact with an animal?5. Have you ever created or viewed child pornography?6. Has an underage family member ever saw you nude?7. Have you ever continued to have sexual contact after being asked to stop?8. Have you ever used a position of power to gain sexual favors?9. Have you ever written child sexual erotica?10. Have you knowledge of an abused child and neglected to report the abuse?

Optional

Since reaching the age of 18 have you ever had sexual fantasies about a minor?

As you can see, all of our questions, if answered in the positive, indicate a sex crime. We are not out to trip up or embarrass community leaders, so we kept our questions such that only a sex criminal would be indicated.

The optional question does not indicate a crime, only a thought process. Mental health professionals dealing with sex offenders report that aberrant thought processes usually lead to acting out, and it is important for parents to know if their elected and appointed leaders have deviant thoughts about children. If you have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, then you will answer the optional question.

We will tabulate the results of our survey and compare to the FBI estimate and your community's known sex offenders to establish a statistical mean.

Our results shall divided into the following categories:

Accepted Test:Passed:Signed ReleaseAccepted Test:Failed:Signed ReleaseAccepted Test:Failed:No ReleaseRefused Test

We will release our results to the local media in your community, region and state.

This survey in no way is compulsory and we will not release the results of your test without a signed release authorization. You can accept the test and prove to your community that you are not a child sex predator or you can refuse the test. Not everyone is comfortable answering such personal questions about their past actions.

Please reply and indicate whether you accept or refuse our invitation to prove you are not an undiscovered sex offender lurking and preying. Those that do not answer our request are placed in the Refused Test category. Please simply reply with Yes or No. This request is not an invitation for dialogue or discussion. We just need to know if you accept or refuse the testing.

Thank you again for your efforts to keep America's children safe.

If enough people demand that Tony take this test, then he will either have to take it, or admit to hiding something.

RobE
RobE

Rackauckas should be a convicted criminal himself for obstructing an investigation into the affairs of a buddy of his. The Irvine City Council made exactly the right move here to bat down what was little more than political grandstanding by an out of control and corrupt D.A.

Michael Lhevan
Michael Lhevan

They should ban all convicted sex offenders from any contact with children

mrs. truth
mrs. truth

TRACK cannot enforce the laws that are already on the books.... what makes him think he is going to be in OC history books for protecting kids???  This man is NUTS

Lhevan
Lhevan

The minute a child is aeffected by a sexual offender, that runs the risk of suffering long-term problems.

Michael Lhevan
Michael Lhevan

Instead of showing  the District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, movies about jaws, they should show him films about how manipulative theve people are, so that the city could warn their children. I think Mr Rackauckak would understand more. He seems to be a fair person.

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