Irvine moves closer to banning sex offenders from parks

IRVINE, Calif.

The Irvine City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a draft ordinance. The council agreed to narrow the proposed ordinance to ban only those offenders convicted of crimes against children.

The ordinance will go before the council for a second reading June 28. If approved, violators would face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

A council staff report said 44 registered sex offenders live in Irvine. The ban would make exceptions for individual sex offenders if the Orange County city's director of public safety gives them a written exemption.

Orange County already has a similar ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county recreational areas, including parks and beaches, where children regularly gather.

The city of Westminster adopted a similar ordinance last month and five other Orange County cities are considering such regulations.

Irvine has 18 community parks and 37 neighborhood parks. Critics of the proposal say it's virtually impossible to enforce.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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