The Lake Forest City Council will consider dumping a city ordinance meant to keep child molesters out of city parks, at tonight’s Council meeting, according to a press release by the Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas.
“Faced with a federal lawsuit that could cost up to $250,000 to defend, Lake Forest on Tuesday decided it’s not. City leaders instead repealed the law,” according to the O.C. Register.
According to Rackauckas, “The City Ordinance that was passed last year is similar to the County Ordinance proposed by District Attorney Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on April 5, 2011. In the past year, the cities of Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, and Anaheim passed similar ordinances, and other cities are currently in the process of developing a similar ordinance.”
“Those cities were named in a federal lawsuit filed Sept. 28 by an anonymous man – a registered sex offender who served his sentence more than 15 years ago and is now married with children – who alleges the bans violate his First, Fifth and 14th Amendment rights,” according to the O.C. Register.
The Register also reported that “In addition, the Appellate Division of the Orange County Superior Court reversed the conviction of Hugo Godinez, a registered sex offender who admitted to entering Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. Godinez appealed the conviction, alleging the county ban is too vague and is trumped by state law. In its decision in favor of Godinez, the Appellate Division agreed state law takes precedence because it has previously passed laws concerning where registered sex offender can go. For example, state law bars from parks registered sex offenders on parole convicted of victimizing a child younger than 14.”
The Lake Forest City Council already voted once on this issue. Tonight is the second reading of their ordinance repeal.
The issue may be broader than just those who are on the Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. Public parks are often used by area homosexuals for anonymous hook-ups with other men. This has been a major problem, for example, at Santa Ana’s Santiago Park, where condoms can routintely be found along the Santiago Creek bike trail. They may not be there to molest kids but kids frequent that park and could be exposed to seeing activities no children should ever be exposed to.