More than half of Orange County cities have ordinances making it illegal for a registered sex offender to enter a public park. Lake Forest has decided to erase its anti-sex offender ordinance, allowing them back into city parks, and this has some people alarmed. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2012.
Lake Forest on Tuesday night became the first Orange County city to repeal a restrictive law that bans registered sex offenders from city parks.
The City Council voted 4-0 to overturn the law, which bars registered sex offenders, including those not convicted of a crime against children, from municipal parks and local beaches, according to the county District Attorney’s office.
Lake Forest enacted the law in January. Sex offenders are still barred from all county parks in Lake Forest, according to DA officials.
The county DA's office expressed disappointed Tuesday night over the decision, but vowed to continue its efforts.
"We know that this war against sex offenders is a long-term project and we’re never going to give up and we’re never going to stop trying to protect our children from sex offenders," said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the OC DA.
Nearly half of all OC cities have adopted the controversial law. The Child Safety Zone Ordinance is active in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Hills, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Westminster and Yorba Linda.
Last month, a panel of Superior Court judges challenged the law’s legality and asked the state Court of Appeal to review the measure, according to the Los Angeles Times. Still, the district attorney’s office vowed to continue enforcing it.
The Times reports that Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has asked her department to stop enforcing the law. Lake Forest is patrolled by sheriff’s deputies.