Photo by Brande Jackson via Flickr Creative Commons
Seal Beach is one step away from officially banning sex offenders from beaches, jetties, piers, parks and nearby parking lots. On Monday night, the city council voted 5-0 to approve the law. If adopted in the next meeting, the OC beach would be the latest SoCal city to institute this sort of sexual predator precaution modeled after a similar county law, explains the OC Register.
Called a "child safety zone," the new law would make it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter recreational areas where children gather. A first conviction would lead to a maximum of six months in jail or a fine up to $500 or both.
Fullerton was first Orange County city to fight back with legislation to keep sex offenders from loitering within 300 feet of parks, schools and daycare centers. Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Westminster, and Yorba Linda have similar measures in place.
County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Rackauckas last April crafted the county law barring registered sex offenders from county parks, harbors, historic sites and beaches. Some of the city ordinances are modeled after the county's law but vary from it. Irvine, for example, passed a narrower version focusing on offenders who victimize minors.
Sex offenders are mandated by state law to register their addresses with authorities. Seven of Seal Beach's 10 registered sex offenders live in a senior retirement community called "Leisure World."
Other state measures designed to protect children, include:
- Jessica's Law - requires felony sex offenders on parole to be monitored by GPS and bans them from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or other locations where children are regularly present.
- Senate Bill 1128 - prohibits sex offenders on school grounds without written permission
- Chelsea's Law - increases penalties and parole provisions for people who have attacked children.
- Sex offender database with addresses of registered sex offenders is available to the general public at meganslaw.ca.gov