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City Of Westminster Bans Sex Offenders From Parks

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WESTMINSTER (CBS) — Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Saturday praised four Westminster City Council members for approving an ordinance banning registered sex offenders from the city’s parks and playgrounds.

Rackauckas said he was “thrilled” with the council’s 4-0 vote Thursday night, making it a misdemeanor for a registered sex offender to go into a park without permission in city limits. Punishment could be up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Councilmember Frank Fry abstained.

“I hope parents of Westminster join me in commending Westminster Mayor (Margie) Rice, Mayor Pro Tem (Tyler) Diep, and City Council members (Andrew) Quach and (Tri) Ta for taking a big step in creating a safety zone for our children and keeping sex offenders out of Westminster parks,” Rackauckas said.

Westminster is the fourth Orange County city to close the loophole in the state’s sex offender laws. Tustin, Fullerton and Irvine already have similar ordinances in place.

“There’s vulnerabilities in the cities and the counties when it comes to child molesters being allowed to go into a park,” said Maryanne McCauley with the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

McCauley told CBS2/KCAL9 that predators are not allowed to walk onto a school campus without permission and this is no different.

“If you don’t want them going to your schools, you certainly don’t want them going to a park where children are playing,” she added.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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