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Fountain Valley Takes First Step Toward Banning Sex Offenders in Parks

The measure would affect people convicted of sex crimes against minors. The county district attorney had pushed to ban all registered sex offenders.

Sex offenders who prey on children would be banned from Fountain Valley city parks under a measure that won tentative approval Tuesday night.

In a 4-0 vote, the City Council endorsed a law to make city-owned parks off-limits to anyone who is registered as a sex offender for crimes against a minor.

That distinction -- not including sex offenders who target adults -- drew criticism from the Orange County district attorney's office, which said Fountain Valley's measure would clash with a similar county law. The county law, which only affects county-owned parks, bans all sex offenders unless they get a waiver from the sheriff.

Noting that Fountain Valley has both county- and city-owned parks, District Attorney Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder predicted confusion. Fountain Valley's measure "would make it an inconsistent situation, where somebody who is convicted of child pornography could not go into Mile Square Park, but they could go into a Fountain Valley Park,” she said.

But Mayor John Collins backed the measure as is, saying “the most egregious" perpetrators are those who target children. “I think it’s really important to keep people … who abuse children away from kids as much as we can,” Collins said.  

If the measure wins final approval at the next City Council meeting, violations would be a misdemeanor, punishable with a maximum of six months in jail and/or $1,000 fine, according to the city code.

Police Chief Daniel Llorens said, “We don’t have a history of sex offenders in our parks, but it certainly gives us something to use if we ever have an incident."

Another difference between the city and county measures is that Fountain Valley would allow no waivers from its top law enforcement officer.

According to a city staff report, “Llorens has indicated that he does not want the discretion to make waivers as he does not want his decision to be the cause of harm to a child.”

Officials put the item on the agenda after a study session on the topic in April, and after Orange County District Attorney Tony Rauckauckas recommended all cities adopt legislation to keep sex offenders away from parks. A number of cities have passed such laws.

Joker Joe October 03, 2012 at 03:17 PM
What a joke. How do you ascertain if a sex offender is in the park? How about a ban on murders in the park? How about a ban on pornographic shop owners? How about a ban on any felons? How about a ban on terrorists? Vote in a new city council next month. People that have BRAINS!!!
Ann Sue October 03, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Bo Bo This is a simple task, you will know who, what and when to ban, by the TATOO on their forehead.
Joker Joe October 03, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I forgot about the tat. Were you referring to the city council??
Roy Reynolds October 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Keeping coyotes out of the parks that are lunching on our family pets would have been a better use of Council and staff time -- and, unlike this ordinance, that's enforceable by outsourcing the problem to the right exterminators.
Ann Sue October 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Roy, don't forget about the rats!
Joker Joe October 03, 2012 at 05:33 PM
What are people doing bringing edibles to the park. Most dogs are larger than coyotes and if smaller and on a leash are the owners being attacked by blood thirsty coyotes that go for their juggler like rabid bats in order to eat the dogs? Nice try Roy.... lol lol
Steve Oconnor October 03, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Sounds like someone is up for re-election. Many Americans believe that the registry is not their problem. They have misconceptions that former sex offenders belong to a segment of society different from their own. They are wrong. There are over 750,000 people on the registry today and it is growing. Fear, panic and hysteria is causing politicians to create more harsh and further reaching laws. Your child today is soon going to be a teen with raging hormones. The offenders you demonize today may quite probably be your child tomorrow. Heed the words of Nielmoller: First they came for . . .
Joker Joe October 03, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Who is Nielmoller? Is he on the city council?
Extremely Disgruntled October 04, 2012 at 01:10 AM
The pass-common-sense test for this one was for those who were convicted of assaulting a minor in or taken from a park, not all those others who are not, and never will be going to the park for that reason. Some offenders are parents themselves now that their just-overage hormones went wild with someone just-underage. (They're classed as offenders with child victims also.) Legislate with wisdom, not just for re-elections. Otherwise, you'll find your OWN kids on a list, or someone else you know, not allowed somewhere else soon enough.

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