Friday, April 25, 2014

Orange County, CA Loses Legal Bid to Ban Sex Offenders from Public Parks

The California Supreme Court denied review of a lower court appellate decision of a constitutional challenge banning registered sex offenders from being present in public parks in Orange County, California.  This effectively ends the legal battle to uphold O.C. ordinances that would have prohibited sex offenders from being present on public park land even if they had committed no crime.  (See full story here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-supreme-court-decision-allows-sex-offenders-parks-n88916 ).

Unfortunately, legal challenges like this one are prompted due to the number of incidents of persons (children in particular) being sexually molested in public park areas such as restrooms.  There have been any number of past and recent incidents of this throughout Southern California and elsewhere in the U.S.  The courts have to balance the protection of children with the constitutional rights of persons who may have served time for a sex offense but, have received parole.  It is extremely difficult to balance these interests in light of the prevalence of sexual predators who continue to engage in deviant activities and find public parks a place to try to gain access to children.  This is a caveat to all parents to be extremely vigilant in monitoring children when they are in public places.