The Orange County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a new law to create "child safety zones" that registered sex offenders can only enter legally if they have permission from law enforcement.
Basically, the brainchild of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson makes it a misdemeanor for convicted perverts, molesters and assorted creepers to hang out at in county parks and recreational areas where children regularly gather--unless the Sheriff's Department gives them the all-clear first.
The Weekly blogged about the then-proposed ordinance here:
"Orange County has taken a huge step in creating a safety zone for our children," Rackauckas. says in a statement issued by his office. "Parks, harbors, and beaches belong to families and children, not registered sex offenders."
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Nelson is quoted in the same release praising his board for taking "a stand for children."
"A gap in the law was identified," Nelson states, "and now law enforcement has the authority they need to remove registered sex offenders from children's play areas."
Violators of the new law face up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. The zones are indentified in the complete ordinance below:
ORDINANCE NO. 03-18-1 to 6
AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF ORANGE, CALIFORNIA, ADDING DIVISION 18, ARTICLE 1 TO TITLE 3 OF THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE COUNTY OF ORANGE PROHIBITING REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS FROM ENTERING COUNTY PARKS
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Orange, California ordains as follows:
SECTION 1. Division 18, Article 1 is hereby added to Title 3 of the Codified Ordinances of the County of Orange, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. PROHIBITION OF REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS FROM ENTERING COUNTY PARKS
Sec. 3-18-1. Purpose and intent.
It is the purpose and intent of this ordinance to protect children from registered sex offenders by restricting sex offenders' access to locations where children regularly gather. It is intended to reduce the risk of harm to children by impacting the ability of sex offenders to be in contact with children. It is further the intent of this ordinance to provide additional restrictions beyond those provided for in state law by restricting sex offenders from certain limited locations, and by allowing for criminal penalties for violations of this ordinance. It is not the intent of this ordinance to allow conduct otherwise prohibited by state law, or to contradict state law. Orange County Parks are recognized by the County of Orange Board of Supervisors as locations where children regularly gather.
Sec. 3-18-2. Definitions.
Orange County Park. For purposes of this ordinance, an Orange County Park is defined as any county-owned, leased, operated or maintained land before or after the effective date of this ordinance by the County of Orange held as a harbor, beach, park or recreation area, including but not limited to, Arroyo Trabuco Park, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Clark Regional Park, Craig Regional Park, Featherly Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park, O'Neill Regional Park, Orange County Zoo, Peters Canyon Regional Park, Santiago Regional Park, Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park, Yorba Park, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Caspers Wilderness Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, Talbert Nature Preserve, Aliso Beach Park, Capistrano Beach Park, Newport Harbor, Salt Creek Beach Park, Sunset Beach Park, Dana Point Harbor, and Sunset Harbour.
Sec. Sec. 3-18-3. Prohibitions.
Any person required to register pursuant to California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. who enters into or upon any Orange County Park where children regularly gather without written permission from the Orange County Sheriff or Sheriff's designee is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each entry into any such area, regardless of the time period between entries, shall constitute a separate offense under this ordinance.
Sec. 3-18-4. Penalties for violation.
Punishment for a violation of this section shall be as follows:
(1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or by both imprisonment and a fine.
(2) Upon a second conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not less than ten (10) days and not more than six months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500). Upon a second conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ten (10) days.
(3) Upon a third or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not less than ninety (90) days and not more than six months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500). Upon a third or subsequent conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ninety (90) days.
Sec. 3-18-5. Other prosecution authorized.
Nothing in this ordinance shall preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.
Sec. 3-18-6. Severability.
If any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed severable and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have adopted this ordinance irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof and intends that the invalid portions should be severed and the balance of the ordinance be enforced.