ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date: January 4, 2012
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
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
SANTA ANA – The City of Mission Viejo enacted a law yesterday to create child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks and playgrounds. The Mission Viejo City Council voted unanimously Jan. 3, 2012, to pass the ordinance. The City Council includes Mayor Frank Ury, Mayor Pro Tem Rhonda Reardon, Council Members Patricia Kelley , Dave Leckness, and Cathy Schlicht. There will be a second reading of the Ordinance on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, making it effective 30 days after that reading.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas was present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the passage of the ordinance.
“I am grateful to Mission Viejo for creating a law to protect the children of Orange County from dangerous sex offenders. Children and parents have the right to play in parks with the knowledge that predators are not allowed to be there,” stated District Attorney Rackauckas.
“I grew up in Mission Viejo and lived there from elementary school until I went away to college. It was a wonderful, safe city then, and this law will help to keep the children in the city safe,” said Chief of Staff Schroeder.
“As a strong supporter of public safety I want to commend OC DA Tony Rackauckas for taking a leadership role in creating a County Ordinance that protects children and all park users from potential harm from convicted sex offenders. Having over 35 parks in Mission Viejo I thank my council colleagues for their unanimous vote of support of my recommendation to create the child safety zone ordinance into Mission Viejo. Children’s rights are paramount over the rights of a convicted sexual predator. Sexual predators contend that they have been rehabilitated and have paid their debt to society, but that is no guarantee that they would not commit another act, and if someone has been convicted of child abuse, we do not want them near children,” said Council Member Cathy Schlicht.
“”I appreciate the leadership of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in bringing this important safety measure to Orange County, and his follow-up in encouraging each city to follow suit. As an advocate for children for most of my life, I see this as a very important step for our City. Mission Viejo is a family-oriented city, with numerous parks and recreation centers, and I am confident that through this ordinance we have provided an extra measure of safety for our children as they enjoy our facilities,” added Council Member Trish Kelly.
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 Mission Viejo 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 Mission Viejo City Ordinance is virtually the same as the County Ordinance.
After enacting the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell, and County Supervisors Nelson, Patricia Bates, and Janet Nguyen sent letters to each Orange County city encouraging them to consider a similar ordinance for their city parks. Mission Viejo is in the Fifth District represented by Supervisor Bates.
Since May 2011, the Cities of Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest La Habra, Los Alamitos, Westminster, and Yorba Linda have enacted a City Ordinance modeled after the County Ordinance. The City of Irvine enacted a City Ordinance banning some sex offenders at city parks on June 14, 2011. Several other Orange County cities are considering ordinances at this time including Anaheim, Brea, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, and Seal Beach.
To read the full County Ordinance, please visit www.orangecountyda.com and select the April 5, 2011, press release entitled “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.
The Mission Viejo City Ordinance is as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MISSION VIEJO ADDING A NEW CHAPTER 11.23 OF TITLE 11 TO THE MISSION VIEJO MUNICIPAL CODE PROHIBITING REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS FROM ENTERING CITY PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES.
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MISSION VIEJO DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
The City Council desires to ensure that the community, including all residents and visitors to the City of Mission Viejo’s renowned recreation facilities are safe. The Board of Supervisors and the District Attorney’s Office, each of the County of Orange, California, have requested that the City of Mission Viejo, by and through its City Council, adopt this Ordinance. The City Council is relying upon the analysis and recommendations of the District Attorney’s Office as regards this Ordinance and the legal effectiveness of it. This City Council desires to extend the broadest scope of legal defensible and enforceable protection to the citizens utilizing the parks and recreational amenities offered in the City of Mission Viejo. This City Council is acting, as set forth in this Ordinance, to further the public health, safety and welfare in a manner consistent with the request of the District Attorney’s Office of the County of Orange.
Section 1. Chapter 11.23 of Title 11 of the Mission Viejo Municipal Code is hereby added to read as follows:
“Prohibition of Registered Sex Offenders from Entering City Parks and Recreation Facilities.
“11.23.010 Purpose and intent.
“11.23.040 Penalties for violation.
“11.23.050 Other prosecution authorized.
“Section 11.23.010. Purpose and intent.
“It is the purpose and intent of this ordinance to protect adults and children from registered sex offenders by restricting sex offenders’ access to locations where adults and children regularly gather. It is especially intended to reduce the risk of harm to children by impacting the ability of sex offenders to be in contact with children. It is further the intent of this ordinance to provide additional restrictions beyond those provided for in state law by restricting sex offenders from certain limited locations, and by allowing for criminal penalties for violations of this ordinance. It is not the intent of this ordinance to allow conduct otherwise prohibited by state law, or to contradict state law. Park and Recreation Facilities are recognized by the City Council of the City of Mission Viejo as locations where children regularly gather. Further, this City Council recognizes that the parks and recreation facilities within the jurisdiction of the City of Mission Viejo are locations where children and adults regularly gather.
“Section 11.23.020. Definitions.
“Park and Recreation Facility. For purposes of this ordinance, a City of Mission Viejo Park is defined as any city-owned, leased, operated or maintained land or recreation facility before or after the effective date of this ordinance by the City of Mission Viejo held as a park or recreation area, including but not limited to Abanico Open Space, Aegean Hills Park, Alicia Park, Aurora Park, Barbadanes Park, Barcelona Park, Beebe Park, Birchwood Park, Castille Park, Castlewood Park, Christopher Park, Colinas/Escorial Open Space, Community Center, Cordova Park, Coronado Park, Crucero Park, Curtis Park, Doria Park, Eastbrook Park, El Dorado Park, Felipe Tennis Center, Flamenco Open Space, Florence Joyner Olympiad Park, Gilleran Park, Granada Park, Jeronimo Greenbelt Open Space, La Mancha Park, Linda Vista Park, Loyola Park Open Space, Madrid Fore Park, Marguerite Recreation Center, Melinda Park, Minaya Park, Mojave Open Space, Montanoso Recreation Center, Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, Napoli Park, Olympiad Road Open Space, M.M. O’Neill Park, Oso Viejo Community Park, Pacific Hills Park, Pavion Park, Pinecrest Park, Preciadoes Park, San Gabriel Open Space, Santa Lucia Open Space, Santa Maria Open Space, Sergeant Matt Davis Park (Camino Largo Park), Seville Park, Sierra Recreation Center, Bart Spendlove Park, Sycamore Park, Valyermo Park, Vista Del Lago Open Space, Vista Del Lago Park, Wilderness Glen, World Cup Soccer Fields, Youth Athletic Park.
“Section 11.23.030. Prohibitions.
“Any person required to register pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290, et seq. who enters into or upon any Park and Recreation Facility where children regularly gather without written permission from the Orange County Sheriff or Sheriff’s designee is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each entry into any such area, regardless of the time period between entries, shall constitute a separate offense under this ordinance.
“Section 11.23.040. Penalties for violation.
“Punishment for a violation of this section shall be as follows:
“(1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six (6) months, or by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00), or by both imprisonment and a fine.
“(2) Upon a second conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not less than ten (10) days and not more than six (6) months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00).
Upon a second conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ten (10) days.
“(3) Upon a third or subsequent conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not less than ninety (90) days and not more than six (6) months, or by both imprisonment and a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00). Upon a third or subsequent conviction, however, the person shall not be released on probation, parole, or any other basis until he or she has served not less than ninety (90) days.
“Section 11.23.050. Other prosecution authorized.
“Nothing in this ordinance shall preclude or prohibit prosecution under any other provision of law.”
Section 2. The terms of this Ordinance shall supersede any previous resolutions of this City Council or other City Council policies which may be in conflict or inconsistent with the terms of this Ordinance.
Section 3. The City Clerk of the City of Mission Viejo shall certify to the passage and adoption of this Ordinance and shall cause the same or a summary thereof to be published and posted in the manner required by law.
Section 4. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, word or portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The City Council of the City of Mission Viejo hereby
declares that it would have passed and adopted this Ordinance, as requested by the Board of Supervisors and District Attorney, and each and all provisions thereof, irrespective of the fact that one or more of said provisions may be declared to be invalid and intends that the invalid portions should be severed and the balance of the ordinance be enforced.
Section 5. The City Council hereby finds that this Ordinance is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Sections 15060(c)(2) and 15061(b)(3) as it can be seen with certainty that this Ordinance’s enactment will not have a significant effect on the environment.
Section 6. Penalty for Violation of Ordinance. The penalties, remedies and punishments for the violation of this Ordinance shall be as set forth in Chapter 1.01 of Title 1 of the Mission Viejo Municipal Code. The provisions of Chapter 1.01 are hereby incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein. Further, in addition to and in no way limiting the foregoing it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, partnership or corporation to violate any provision or to fail to comply with any of the requirements of this Ordinance hereby adopted. Except where designated as an infraction, any person, firm, partnership or corporation violating any provision of this Ordinance or failing to comply with any of its requirements shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each and every person, firm, partnership, or corporation shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each and every day or any portion thereof during which any violation of any of the provisions of this Ordinance is committed, continued or permitted by such person, firm, partnership or corporation, and shall be deemed punishable therefor as provided in this Ordinance.