|For Immediate Release
January 26, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
SANTA ANA – The City of Rancho Santa Margarita enacted yesterday a law to create child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks and playgrounds after a first reading of the ordinance. Rancho Santa Margarita City Council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance adopted yesterday, Jan. 25, 2012. There will be a second reading of the Ordinance at a later date. The Ordinance becomes effective 30 days after the second reading. The City Council includes Mayor L. Anthony Beall, Mayor pro tempore Steven Baric, and Council Members Carol Gamble, Jerry Holloway, and Jesse Petrilla.
Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Fitzpatrick was present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the passage of the ordinance.
“Rancho Santa Margarita was one of the first cities to take on the issue of creating safety zones to protect children from sexual predators,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “The city was in a unique situation because all of its existing parks are owned by homeowner associations and coordination was needed with the entities to enforce the law. I am happy for the children and parents of Rancho Santa Margarita that this law passed and they are empowered to keep sexual predators out of their parks at their request.”
“In Rancho Santa Margarita, public safety is our number one priority and we are dedicated to providing law enforcement every possible tool in order to ensure that our parks, neighborhoods, and homes are always kept safe,” stated Mayor L. Anthony Beall.
“The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens. We in Rancho Santa Margarita have always taken this responsibility seriously. I would like to thank my colleagues on the City Council for supporting the ‘child safety zone ordinance,’ that I proposed,” said Mayor pro tempore Steven Baric. “I look forward to working with the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office to ensure that all of our parks are safe for our children.”
“We realize that sex predators are just that, predators. They prey on our children. We are doing whatever we can to provide the necessary tools to law enforcement to help protect our residents from these vicious individuals,” stated Council Member Jesse Petrilla. “I am proud of my colleagues for supporting the ordinance, and particularly Council Member Steven Baric for introducing it to our city.”
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.