Sex Offender Ban in Lake Forest Under Review
It seems strange that any city would have to be forced to ban sex offenders from its parks, yet only four cities in Orange County have actually passed an ordinance. Laguna Hills, La Habra, Los Alamitos and Westminster have passed a ban, and Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo are in the process of fine-tuning the language of their ordinances.
Irvine and Huntington Beach have also passed a ban, but one less strict than the one proposed for Lake Forest and passed by the four cities listed above, which says that violators will be charged with a misdemeanor and could face a $500 fine and jail time of up to six months.
Although this country is based on freedom and civil rights, sex offenders have some of the highest recidivist rates of any crime, especially when it comes to offenders who target children. Allowing them access to parks where children congregate brings up a moral and legal issue in how we protect our children-some of the most vulnerable in our society.
An impassioned plea by Erin Runnion, the residents and representatives from the District Attorney’s office, the city has decided to review the proposed ordinance in their December 6 council meeting. It would have been hard to dismiss Runnion’s argument, as she recounted how her daughter Samantha was kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered in 2002. Runnion also repeated statistics that show that one in four girls and one in seven boys are sexually assaulted-the uncovering of the sexual abuses in both Penn State and the Huntington Beach SCATS gymnastics school certainly add fire to her arsenal.
“I feel safety of the citizens is of utmost importance,” City Councilman Scott Voigts said after the item was agendized. “We must protect our children. I’m at parks a lot, and I want to protect our children.” Interesting that he just realized this after a public hearing on the subject.
The ordinance was written, proposed and promoted countywide by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his office as a way to protect children from registered sex offenders, and was introduced to Lake Forest by Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Fitzpatrick. And remember, the sex offender in Laguna Beach, Saeid Boustanabadi Maralan, had managed to find a loophole to keep himself off the register.
Do you feel that this is a civil rights issue? Do you feel that sex offenders are being unfairly targeted? Or do you agree that our children need extra protection from this group of people known to be predatory?
Have you been sexually assaulted as a child or an adult, or the victim of rape? The crimes against you are serious and should not go unpunished. The legal team at Glew & Kim will treat you fairly and with respect. Please call us call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim immediately on 714-713-4525, or use our online form for a Free Case Analysis. We believe in equal access to justice for all.