Registered sex offenders would be barred from Orange County parks and recreation areas under an ordinance proposed Wednesday by the district attorney's office and county Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
If adopted, the new law would prohibit registered sex offenders from using 60,000 acres of county-owned parkland, including wilderness parks, historic sites and beaches.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Nelson, who represents the Fourth District, say the proposed law would protect children by keeping parks "free from threats."
"Registered sex offenders should not have the right to go into parks and places where children gather," Rackauckas said in a statement. "Parks do not belong to sexual deviants. Parks belong to children who want to play there and parents who want to enjoy nature with their children."
Under the proposed ordinance—to be discussed March 22 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors—it would become a misdemeanour for a registered sex offender to enter or use wilderness parks, nature preserves, recreational trails, historic sites, harbors, and beaches without written permission from the director of Orange County Parks.
Anyone found to be in violation of the law would face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Contacts in the district attorney's office did immediately return phone calls about how the ordinance would be enforced.
The areas that would be affected under the ordinance include, but are not limited to: Arroyo Trabuco Park, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Clark Regional Park, Craig Regional Park, Featherly Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park, O’Neill Regional Park, Orange County Zoo, Peters Canyon Regional Park, Santiago Regional Park, Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park, Yorba 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 and Sunset Harbour.