Irvine May Ban Sex Offenders from Public Parks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Public parks seem to be on every street corner in Irvine. There are 18 community parks and twice that many neighborhood parks. It's part of the planned community reputation on which the city of 200,000 was built.

    Still, Keosha Marhsall says, living in one of America's safest cities doesn't mean her 8 year old son can run and play without supervision.

    Irvine Considers Banning Sex Offenders from Public Parks

    [LA] Irvine Considers Banning Sex Offenders from Public Parks
    Irvine is considering a law that would forbid registered sex offenders from entering public parks. (Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011)

    "There’s a lot of people who come and just sit in the parking lot and eat their lunch," notes Marshall. "But it could also be sex offenders just waiting for a kid to be that one child who is left alone."

    Councilman Jeff Lalloway saw the fear factor unfold when his own young daughter was at a local park. He says police told him it's not against the law for a man to act oddly. That's when Lalloway decided there should be a law that makes it illegal for a registered sex offender to use the park.

    "When you’re a registered sex offender you lose the right to vote. You should also lose the right to leer at our children," says Lalloway.

    According to the Megan's law website, there are 18 registered sex offenders living in Irvine. One was found living within a mile of Valley Oak Park, where Ana Stift brought her young children for a Tuesday outing.

    "If I constantly checked it out, I would probably never leave the house, never go out and about," says Stift.

    City officials say the ordinance would be similar to a law that's already been enacted by the county, which includes regional parks, harbors and even beaches. Colette Atlinger approves.

    "Absolutely, they should not be at parks," says Atlinger. "I mean, given the law, I thought it was already illegal."

    Valentino says his mom taught him early on what to do if a stranger approaches.

    "I just run away, call police, or call the military," says Dinicola.