By Mona Shadia
10:55 AM PDT, October 9, 2012
Following in the footsteps of the county and 13 other cities, the city of Fountain Valley has banned registered sex offenders from entering its city parks.
The City Council voted 4 to 0 on Oct. 2 to pass an ordinance similar to the county law, which bans registered sex offenders from entering county parks and beaches, said Fountain Valley City Manager Ray Kromer. Councilman Larry Crandall was absent.
About 33 or 34 registered sex offenders live in Fountain Valley, said Sgt. Matt Sheppard.
Fountain Valley's ordinance only affects registered sex offenders who committed an offense against minors, Kromer said.
The ordinance must undergo a second reading at the Oct. 16 council meeting; if the council passes it then, it will become law in 30 days. The second reading is considered mostly a formality.
The controversial ordinance, pushed forward by Orange County District Atty. Tony Rackauckas, was first approved by the county supervisors last April. Rackauckas then followed it by a letter urging each city in the county to adopt a similar ordinance in an effort to protect children from sex offenders at parks or beaches.
The county allows some registered sex offenders to enter parks or beaches, but not before they obtain permission from the Sheriff's Department.
Neighboring Huntington Beach was one of the first cities to adopt a sex offender ordinance, which is even stricter than the county's and bans offenders from parks with no exceptions. Fountain Valley's new law also doesn't allow for a permission process, Kromer said.
Four Orange County cities, including Huntington Beach, have now been challenged in federal court over their sex offender bans. A lawsuit was filed Oct. 1 by a registered sex offender who said the law violates his constitutional rights.