La Habra Latest to Ban Sex Offenders from Parks
The city modeled its child safety zone ordinance after the county's enacted in April to keep perverts out of regional parks and other places that attract children.
After the county Board of Supervisors passed the law written by Supervisor Shawn Nelson and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, the DA and supervisors sent letters to leaders of Orange County's 34 incorporated cities suggesting they do the same. Westminster enacted an ordinance modeled after the county ban in May, while Irvine the next month adopted a law that only bans sex offenders whose rap sheets include crimes against children.
Like council members in other cities that have postponed or not yet fully approved bans, Irvine's majority feared the complete ban advocated by the county may not ultimately pass constitutional muster. Some Irvine leaders also felt a problem that does not exist was being created by the law as the city has few registered sex offenders living there and no reports of children being sexually victimized in local parks.
Nonetheless, as the council there and in other cities have taken up the issue, representatives of the county, the DA's office and the sheriff's department have shown up to publicly lobby for support of the total bans created by Nelson and T-Rack. Senior Assistant District Attorney Mary Anne McCauley appeared before the La Habra City Council Monday night.
As you'd expect, Rackauckas applauds La Habra's move in a statement issued by his office last night.
"The City of La Habra took a big step today in protecting children from dangerous sexually deviant predators by creating this safety zone," the DA states. "This law will discourage sex offenders from going to parks in La Habra, where they could have easy access to children and potentially get acquainted with them in the grooming process. I hope that other cities follow the leadership shown by the La Habra mayor and council members and pass a similar ordinance in their cities."
Like the county ordinance, which subjects registered sex offenders to fines, misdemeanors and possible jail time if they do not get permission from the Orange County Sheriff's Department before entering a regional park or recreational area, pervs in La Habra must now receive clearance from the local police department lest they face similar penalties. In both the city and the county, fines can be high as $500 for the first infraction, and the time behind bars can be as long as 90 days.
The La Habra ordinance follows on the next page: