OC DA considers ordinance to create 'child safety zone' in parks

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas plans to attend a Santa Ana City Council meeting Monday night to support a proposed ordinance intended to protect children from registered sex offenders by creating a child safety zone in city parks.

The Santa Ana City Council will consider passing the same ordinance the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved last year.

The ordinance makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter county recreational areas where children regularly gather, unless they get permission from law enforcement.

The DA’s office says 12 cities in Orange County have passed similar ordinances in the past year and other cities are developing them.

Some criticized the county ordinance for being too restrictive since all registered sex offenders have not committed crimes against children. Irvine’s ordinance, for example, bans registered sex offenders convicted of crimes against a minor from city owned parks.

The county ordinance does allow registered sex offenders to apply for exemptions to enter parks in special cases. It’s the first reading of the ordinance before the Santa Ana City Council.

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