“Santa Ana's children and their families deserve the freedom to enjoy our parks, recreation centers and libraries without the risk and fear of sex offenders preying on them,” then-Mayor pro tem Claudia Alvarez said when the city adopted its pervs-in-parks ban on May 21, 2012. But now preying on the city is a San Luis Obispo registered sex offender who has made Santa Ana the latest California jurisdiction he's suing over ordinances that restrict his movements.
As Frank Lindsay has in the past, he is being backed by lawyers from California Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL), whose president, Santa Maria attorney Janice Bellucci, maintains, “The sex offender ordinance adopted by the City of Santa Ana is in violation of both the federal and state constitutions.”
Santa Ana adopted its ordinance at the urging of the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), after DA Tony Rackauckas co-wrote with county Supervisor Shawn Nelson the sex offender law the county Board of Supervisors adopted in April 2011 and which served as the model Orange County cities used to craft their own. They required registered sex offenders to get the permission of the sheriff or local police chief before stepping foot on parks or recreation areas lest they risk misdemeanor fines or arrests.
Sana Ana's ordinance went further, banning sex offenders from getting within 300 feet of a “children's facility,” which was defined as day care centers, parks, schools, Discovery Science Center, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana, KidWorks, the Bowers Kidseum and some libraries “for the apparent purpose of observing a child or children under the age of 18.”
But the county's ordinance and those of the cities of Irvine and Lake Forest have gone on to be successfully challenged in court. Those challenges have been upheld by the state appellate court, and the state Supreme Court recently let the appeals court rulings stand. The Orange County Sheriff's Department has stopped enforcing the county ordinance, and Lake Forest repealed its own.
The suit against Santa Ana is the seventh RSOL has been involved in regarding the sex offender ordinances of recent years. City officials could not be reached for comment at press time.