ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS LAKE FOREST FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release







December 7, 2011

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS LAKE FOREST FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS

 

SANTA ANA – The City of Lake Forest enacted a law yesterday to create child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks and playgrounds. Lake Forest City Council voted unanimously, Dec. 6, 2011, to pass the ordinance. The City Council includes Mayor Peter Herzog, and Council Members Kathryn McCullough, Marcia Rudolph, and Scott Voigts. Mayor pro tem Mark Tettemer was absent. There will be a second reading of the Ordinance at a later date, making it effective 30 days after that reading.

 

Orange County District Attorney’s Office Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder was present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the passage of the ordinance. Many citizens spoke in favor of creating child safety zones.

 

“Parks belong to our children and their parents, not sexual predators.  As we saw in the Garrido case, some sex offenders view playgrounds as supermarket for victims. I am grateful to Councilman Scott Voigts for doggedly pursuing the matter and the Lake Forest City Council for passing a tough ordinance,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

 

“Many sex offenders, their supporters and their special interest attorney showed up at the meeting to make sure they will still continue to have access to our children in parks. They minimized what these sex offenders did to earn their way on the registry and advocated that child molesters reoffended only a small percentage of times. Somehow they believed this was an acceptable statistic. In the end, the council took the side of the many citizens who spoke on behalf of children and public safety,” said Chief of Staff Schroeder.

 

“The protection of children should be of the utmost importance to the City Council,” said Council Member Scott Voigts.

 

California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. requires 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 Lake Forest City Ordinance was 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 District Attorney 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). The Lake Forest City Ordinance is similar to the County Ordinance but there is no ability to get permission from OCSD.

 

After enacting the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, C