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Sex Offenders Banned From County Parks, Beaches

Sheriff can grant waivers under certain circumstances.

Registered sex offenders will be banned from county-owned parks, harbors and beaches under a law that won final approval Tuesday from the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The measure doesn't affect city-owned parkland.

Scheduled to take effect in 30 days, the new law makes it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to set foot in county-operated recreational areas frequented by children. Violators face up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

California law bars serious sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks. It also restricts them from visiting parks, but only while they are on parole. The county law would extend the restriction on park visits indefinitely and to all registered sex offenders.

Waivers can be made in certain circumstances--such as a sex offender who wants to attend an outdoor wedding, or a county employee with a past sex offense who needs to enter parks for job duties. But such exceptions require written permission from the county sheriff, a clause that was added after .

(The criteria for granting waivers will be determined later by the Sheriff's Department and county attorneys, officials said.)

Jeffrey McBride of Laguna Beach argued against the measure, saying it overzealously punished registered offenders who pose no threat to minors instead of zeroing in on predators. The vast majority of child abuse cases are committed by family members at home, he noted. County Supervisor Shawn Nelson quickly pointed out that McBride is a registered sex offender for possession of obscene material depicting child sex.

Erin Runnion, whose 5-year-old daughter, Samantha, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered by a man who had been acquitted of previous molestation charges, endorsed the law, telling the board, "It will make your children safer."

The measure passed on a unanimous vote.

The new law covers nearly 60,000 acres of county-owned parks, nature preserves, recreational trails, historic sites, harbors and beaches, including: Arroyo Trabuco Park, Irvine Regional Park, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park, O'Neill Regional Park, the Orange County Zoo, Peters Canyon Regional Park, Santiago Regional Park, Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Caspers Wilderness Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, Talbert Nature Preserve, Aliso Beach Park, Capistrano Beach Park, Newport Harbor, Salt Creek Beach Park, Sunset Beach Park, Dana Point Harbor, Whiting Ranch and Sunset Harbour.

-- City News Service contributed to this report.

jeff s April 05, 2011 at 10:46 PM
finally some GOOD news - in light of all the bad news, it is nice to see an article reporting the good deeds of socially conscious leaders. Keep up the good work! I love Orange County - always have, always will.... my kids are now just a little bit safer....
JK April 06, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Very Cool!! It's about time!! Someone is thinking about our kids!
HeyWhoIsIt April 06, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Your children are NOT safer by this law. Number One: You have no idea who a sex offender is. Number Two: How in the world is this going to stop a predator from taking your child? Number Three: No jurisdiction is capable of enforcing a law such as this. It's a total waste of our tax money. Number Four: Known sex offenders are only 3% of the population that commit sex crimes. Don't you think it would be more effective to ban the other 97% of the population from going to a park? Number Five: WHY do you think sex offenders are after your children? Those people are called pedophiles. People who have been convicted of a sex crime are not all pedophiles or sexually violent predators. Get it straight and stop advertising your ignorance and lack of intelligence to all who read this. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Ignorant People passing laws to make themselves look 'tough' in the eyes of the voters all the while driving the state further into recession.
Michelle April 06, 2011 at 06:46 AM
I totally agree with HeyWhoIsIt, not the part where he calls you Stupid ignorant People, because people arn't stupid, just not informed. He is absolutely correct , most children are molested in the home. Another fact is that sex offender are not just the creepy guys living alone. They are uncles molesting their niece, 9 yr old brothers molesting their 3yr old sister, father molesting their daughters, boyfriends molesting his girlfriend's child and the list goes on. Fact #3: Almost all molesters know their victims. It's better opportunity for them in having that advantage. Example: A young 20 year old boy in love with his very willing 16 year old girlfriend. An angry father finds out about their affair. Turns the young man into the police. He now has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Even though he gets married and have children of his own, he is a good and loving father and he never commits a crime again. For this he is punished for the rest of his life for a stupid mistake in judgement, and in thinking he was in love. What happens to this man when he turns 35 and he is on the registrey? How do you feel about him then? In your mind he is simply some creep that molested a child, but in reality he is a father who can't enjoy the park or the beach with his wife and children. Not all registered sex offender share this story, but many do. Many don't commit sex crimes again, but they do have to share the shame, commited by one Nut with deep rooted issues.
Mr Salty April 06, 2011 at 02:09 PM
America! The land of laws. Poorly written and badly enforced.
HeyWhoIsIt April 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Michelle reminded me that I shouldn't be calling people names, I apologize for that, it truly was uncalled for. I'm close to a registered sex offender and it irks me to-no-end all of the crap she goes through due to there not being a delineation of levels of registration. The violent sexual predator and the girl who got caught performing fellatio on her previous boyfriend are lumped into one general arena named "a Sex Offender". Yet my girlfriend and I can't take a walk on the beach in Orange County anymore? . . . . Hmmph! I'm going to stop now before I start owing you guys another apology.
Paul J. Wallin April 06, 2011 at 11:30 PM
The new law passed by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and District attorney will likely be found unconstitutional. O.C. Board of Supervisor Shawn Nelson and District Attorney Anthony Rackauckas crafted the law to further restrict sexual offenders. However, something appears very wrong here. The majority of laws related to sex offenders are created after they are debated and voted on by our state legislators. Yet, this new law was created by individuals who may reap some financial gain. Board Supervisor Nelson continues to be a partner in the law firm of Rizio and Nelson, which represents those accused of criminal offenses. This new law will lead to people being arrested and many may call Rizio and Nelson to defend them. You have to wonder how it can be appropriate for Mr. Nelson to sponsor a new law, which will likely financially benefit his firm. It is also an issue when the District Attorneys Office advocates for new laws as opposed to prosecuting violators of the law. The District Attorney is creating “new business” for his office. By doing so, he can justify asking for more tax dollars because they need more prosecutors to enforce this new law. We need to look deeper into theses apparent conflicts of interest and we must do so before this law goes into effect on May 5, 2011 Paul J. Wallin Wallin & Klarich
Paul J. Wallin April 06, 2011 at 11:31 PM
This new law will not be upheld as constitutional. Laws that are passed must be able to be enforced without violating the constitutional rights of our citizens. This new law provides that PC 290 registrants can only go to these public park locations if they receive “consent”. However, there is no vehicle in place to determine how this “consent” will be given and who should or should not receive consent to travel to the prohibited areas. PC 290 has been greatly expanded in which a large number of people are required to register per PC 290 for minor sex offenses. For example, a 20 year old who has sex with his 17 year old girlfriend. Should those individuals be banned from all public parks and beaches for life? The other major constitutional problem is how will the law be enforced? What do sex offenders look like? What do they wear? The answer is obvious. If police will only be able to detain those individuals that they know are PC 290 registrants, then you have to wonder whether the law has any value. Our laws require law enforcement to have probable cause before they can randomly interrupt you and your family while spending time at the beach or the park. Unless registered sex offenders decide to wear a sign around their neck notifying police, this new law will not work. Paul J. Wallin Senior Partner Wallin & Klarich, A Law Corp.
D.L.C. April 07, 2011 at 02:51 AM
This law is totally wrong. The constitution of California and the United States protects everyone including the sex oiffender from ex-post-facto laws passed after they were prosecuted. I hope the Orange County coffers are full because I support suing them. One cannot continously be punished for the acts one commited in the past after one has served their time for the offense. I wish the public would wake up and realize that the lawmakers are hearding them around like sheep to further their agenda instead of what they were put into office to do.
Kerry April 08, 2011 at 04:58 AM
It's hard to believe that there is no differentiation between sex crimes. What about the serial pedophiles that haven't been arrested, tried, and convicted? They will still be around. Hopefully parents and children won't have a false sense of security.
Michelle April 11, 2011 at 06:48 AM
HeyWhoIsIt, so sorry to hear about your girlfriend. She totally fits the example I wrote about. People would be exceedingly surprised to find out that many of the registered sex offenders are not all pedophiles. I believe that when Megan's Law was created the intent was to make a pedophile registry, but how do you determine who is a true pedophile? They probably had no choice but to determine that any adult having sex with an under age child is a pedophile and therefore a danger. California seems reluctant to give sex offenders a grade level like some other states do. Level 1 sex offender would be considered dangerous, 2 medium concern, 3 not a danger. Instead we lump them all together, no wonder Orange County citizen are so frighten. My advise to Orange Co. concerned citizens, would be: instead of making more ridiculous laws that won't stand the test and will not protect our children because a truly dangerous pedophile will not care about the law, if they want your child they will go after them no matter what. Best defense is to use common sense and get educated. Open a facility that can help the ones that can be helped, this is the best prevention of all. Remember that sex offender were once child victims themselves who survived an unspeakable childhood. No one was there to protect them while their value on love got totally twisted. Also Mr Wallin's comment are very interesting regarding the conflict of interest. We'll see how that turns out.
virginia April 28, 2011 at 03:16 PM
virginia O.K. Great Now how about our state parks? Lets make the land of the beautiful the safe and the beutiful.For all you critics above try living in the shoes of victims.The sex offender never serves his true time for his acts his free will speaks out of his persona. Maybey if if if we could get even tougher on the ones that are convicted all the other low lifes will think twice .Its ok to have laws in place when it come to this trash whatever we can use on em the better.Id like to see more paths that allow our dogs with us in county and state parks for protection against the unknowen ,oh hey they are present. I could fill your ear about some real stories.Be aware walk with eyes on your back.
HeyWhoIsIt April 28, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Virginia, there is a difference between sex offences. Please learn them because what I'm hearing from you is that you want to ban an 18 year-old from having a family vacation at Yosemite National Park because he had sex with his younger girlfriend. I understand what you're feeling regarding violent sexual predators, but not everyone is considered under that delineation. Fairly soon, most teens that have sent sexually explicit text messages will be on the list of registered sex offenders. I personally don't feel that's right and we seriously should stop all of these useless and unenforceable new laws coming to pass.
virginia April 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Hey your right! There is a difference and your right again its age. All old ones were young ones. I guess what Im trying to say is we got a bunch of wishie-washie do gooders that have allowed our system to work against us. If you realize this new law is for the benifit for those of us who actually arent doing anything wrong-the majority .Its a good thing.Oh yea a few sacrificial lambs dont worry you get em on both sides.Or havent you heard all the nice stories? N ew laws will be passed but this one is ok for what its all about . And that is what Im for, And I am Happy!!! By the way someone would have reported the 18 year old maybey someone who cared about the younger girl or how could he get in trouble.Oh yea he made a mistake .Obey the law= thats why we have em.
Aron May 02, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Your system is the most reprehensible and barbarian out of any in the civilized world. that's a fact. there is a reason switzerland didnt want to give polanski up to you. oh but you protected that cia guy who murdered muslims cause hes one of yours huh?
Michelle May 02, 2011 at 08:24 AM
Virginia Hi but you sound like a untreated victim of a past sex crime, angry and scared to death. If you were a victim once, go get help. If you are not a victim then stop being so scared. We live in California, everything bad and good happens here. Sex offender have been around for a very long time. Before 9/11 you probably worked right beside one and never knew it. They are capable of working and having families and being exceedingly nice to everyone around them. You just wouldn't want them to find opportunity with a child, other then that unless that person is a psycho they won't bother anyone else. Yes, I believe we do have to protect our children, but the way Orange co. is doing it, their causing their children more harm then good. Don't kick these guy out on the street, because you want to know where they are. They are getting to the breaking point where many will stop following the law and stop registing. That would be really bad for everyone.
virginia May 03, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Interesting thoughts of who you think I am , what I am and what I should do. WOW My experience with that kind of bulls-eye approach doesnt warrent respect.as a matter of fact if all you say were true obviously you are not much of a compassionate person who whould show sincere empathy its all bla bla . Now for the slippery slimy pedos I expose them whenever I get a chance. I have and will continue to do this without a fear do you? Have you ? No dont kick em out on the street kick em out of the parks oh thats right isnt that what this is about. maybey the kids can play without pedo watching them or havnt you ever noticed em? I have .. I know I cant kick em out but I will be the first to report to the good guys and they can . The policemen- dont be so afraid it just might help you out some day ! If it helps just a little its all good. We shall see. The End
HeyWhoIsIt May 04, 2011 at 03:39 AM
I really wish you people would learn the difference between a person who's been arrested for a sex offence and people who are child molesters. It really does make you look quite ignorant.
Michelle May 04, 2011 at 08:00 AM
Virginia what you are doing is a good thing. If you spot a suspisious person checking out kids, you report them. Yes of course I would do the same thing and have done these things. If I saw a person checking out a kid all alone going home or etc. I'm the kind of person that would make sure no harm comes to that child. I do not on the other hand report sex offender living in homes near me, because as HeyWhoIsIt said, we don't know if the person commited a general sex crime or if that person is a true child molester. The registry unfortunately bunches everyone together. Many are not harmful or dangerous. The ones that are caught up in this thing, don't like being sacrifical lambs. They just want to be normal and get on with their lives. These people are the ones I feel bad about. I surprised that as a human being you are not feeling the same.
virginia May 04, 2011 at 12:54 PM
I do understand there are vering levels of all crimes .Thats when addvocates as yourself and others need to be active. A rating scale could be in place 5 for violent tornados. . In the meantime as radical as you want to view this I believe for once we are going forward in favor of childern.Aalways middle ground is favorable , we have let it gone beyond that in this country.The majority is fed up !I can feel the tremor .When that happens things change sometimes drastically thats why we are lucky to have freedom.. And sometimes people from across the Atlantic who view us as barberic need to reflect on the feudilistic dictatorship gtound that has warped the sense of balance.God bless the USA and its childern.Be specific about this law uphold the childern , teach them the line of right and wrong.Using the old ploy the cut down word " ignorant" really exposes someones frustration.. Remember different degrees of all crimes.I suggest if you have someone you feel does'nt fit the catagory spend your energy to change the law for her kind. Laws can be amended .Sorry for those who dont fit the law.But the big picture is where Im at. A little bit of cream can be added- a little bit at a time to a black cupo coffee.Level 5 tornadoes dont like any of this...Get to work on the changes you feel passionate about but as you do, remember always keep and uphold what is important The innocent- for me the childern- hopeful you will to.

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