|For Immediate Release October 18, 2011||Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MISSION VIEJO CITY COUNCIL DIRECTS STAFF TO DEVELOP NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
SANTA ANA – The Mission Viejo City Council recommended yesterday to have the City Attorney propose an ordinance similar to the Orange County Ordinance to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders. The ordinance will make it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter Mission Viejo parks and recreational areas where children regularly gather. The Mission Viejo City Council will add the matter to the agenda for review at a later date.
The Mission Viejo City Council voted unanimously on Oct. 17, 2011, to have the City Attorney draft a city ordinance modeled after the County Ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors April 5, 2011, and took effect May 5, 2011, to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders in County parks and harbors. The County Ordinance was developed and proposed by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who enforce the Ordinance.
To read the full County Ordinance, please select the April 5, 2011, press release titled “Orange County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Votes to Adopt New Law to Keep Registered Sex Offenders Out of Parks, Harbors, Beaches and Playgrounds,” under Press Releases/Media Advisories at www.orangecountyda.com.
California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. require individuals convicted of certain crimes to register as sex offenders. The registration process is used to ensure that such offenders shall be readily available for police surveillance at all times because such offenders are deemed likely to commit similar offenses in the future.
The Cities of Westminster, La Habra, and Los Alamitos have enacted a City Ordinance similar to the County Ordinance. The City of Irvine enacted a City Ordinance with a partial ban of sex offenders at city parks on June 14, 2011. Several other Orange County cities are working with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to propose similar ordinances at this time.