|For Immediate Release
Case # 11WM11747
October 17, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
SEX OFFENDER FOUND TWICE IN PARK CONVICTED OF VIOLATING WESTMINSTER SEX OFFENDER ORDINANCE
SANTA ANA – A registered sex offender was convicted today for violating the Westminster Sex Offender Ordinance by entering a city park on two dates. Steven James Dietrich, 59, Westminster, was prosecuted by the Westminster City Attorney’s Office and pleaded guilty today to one misdemeanor count of prohibited sex offender entering city parks without written permission from Westminster Police Department (WPD) and was sentenced to 60 days in Orange County Jail and three years of informal probation.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on July 16, 2011, Dietrich entered Leaora L. Blakey Park at 8612 Westminster Boulevard, in Westminster. He was contacted by a WPD officer. The Municipal Code and the Westminster Sex Offender Ordinance was enacted in May 2011. The Sex Offender Ordinance makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter City parks where children regularly gather without permission from WPD. The Ordinance contained the same wording as the County Ordinance enacted in April 2011. 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.
At approximately 1:00 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2011, Dietrich entered the same park. The same WPD officer contacted the defendant.
“I am proud that Westminster’s law protecting children is working to keep predators out of parks,” stated Mayor Pro tem Tyler Diep. “I am proud that Westminster is setting the public safety standard in Orange County and that we were the first city to enact the child safety zone ordinance and the first conviction of a sex offender.”
“Westminster took a big step in protecting children. I hope it sends a big message to sex offenders that they should not be going to parks in Westminster,” said Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas. “We will never know how many children are being protected because of this law, but we know children of Westminster are safer because of this law.”
“For those who questioned the value of this ordinance we now have our answer. Registered offenders are known in their community by residents and law enforcement alike. This ordinance is a valuable tool to be used to keep our parks safe,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
This case was prosecuted by the Westminster City Attorney’s Office City Prosecutor Jamaar Boyd-Weatherby.