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Irvine proposes ban on sex offenders in parks

June 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Irvine City Council is considering a proposal to ban sex offenders from city parks in an effort to protect children. The measure's getting support from a woman whose daughter was killed by a repeat sex offender.

Erin Runnion, whose daughter Samantha was murdered, spoke out in support of that proposal.

The city of Irvine is now considering banning all registered sex offenders from city parks. If approved, the city would join a growing list of cities, counties and states adopting controversial ordinances like this.

Earlier this year, Orange County approved a law banning registered sex offenders from entering dozens of county parks, beaches and harbor areas.

Offenders who visit any of those public spaces without prior approval from county officials could face up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.

Critics say these laws are hard to enforce and are usually politically motivated.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas supports Irvine's proposal. He says it's all about keeping kids safe.

"We think that we should also have city ordinances and I'm recommending to the cities that they get such ordinances," said Rackauckas. "If somebody can't go to a county park, maybe go to a city park, so I think the cities should be protected as well."

The Irvine City Council held its first reading of the proposal Tuesday night, along with public comment and discussion.

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