23 Aug 2014
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Lake Forest Bans Sex Offenders From Parks

The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.

Lake Forest Bans Sex Offenders From Parks Lake Forest Bans Sex Offenders From Parks

After additional debate, the Lake Forest City Council unanimously voted Tuesday evening in favor of an ordinance that will ban registered sex offenders from city parks without exception.

The law is stricter than the one it is modeled after, which was and is in effect in county-run recreational areas.

Under that ordinance, registered sex offenders can get permission to enter those areas from which they are otherwise banned with written permission from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

On Dec. 7, the Lake Forest City .

Even so, on Tuesday evening Councilwoman Kathryn McCullough requested a delay in implementation to gather additional information.

"It needs fine-tuning … I think we moved a little fast on that," she said.

McCullough said she wanted to know how to the law would play out in private parks owned by local Homeowners Associations before going ahead.

"I want to make sure that I don’t vote for something and leave those people out," McCullough said. "That’s a loophole for a predator."

While her colleagues also expressed interest in finding out how the law could be enforced in those areas, they said that a later amendment, if needed, is a better solution than a delay.

"I’m reluctant to get this pushed off and pushed off because we’re talking about a safety issue with people," Councilwoman Maria Rudolph said.

In response to a previous request from the council, the city attorney said he plans to share his research into the possibility of enforcing such a ban in private areas throughout the city with the council later this week.

Perturbed residents in favor of the ordinance, who were not planning to speak at the meeting, spoke up to demand that the council give the law its final approval.

"I am frustrated," said Kelly Hagins, a Lake Forest resident who has been pushing for the ordinance since spring. "This needs to pass."

Hagins and three others spoke in favor of its passage. Another speaker said the council should consider if the law is the best way to keep children safe before going ahead.

"Feel good legislation is nice, and I'm all for this ... but what will really be the impact here?" resident Vincent Burke said. "Attentive parents are the best deterrent to this sort of predation."

However, the council decided to put the ordinance in place, even if additional details are still to be worked out.

"I just think we ought to move ahead with it," Rudolph said. 

The ordinance was , who requested that the city consider implementing such a ban.

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