L.A. sees parks as a weapon against sex offenders

LA Times – On a tiny sliver of land in Harbor Gateway, the city is beginning construction on what officials believe will be the smallest park in Los Angeles.

At one-fifth of an acre, the pocket park will barely have room for two jungle gyms, some benches and a brick wall.

But the enjoyment the park will give children is a secondary concern for officials. They are building the park for a different reason: to force 33 registered sex offenders to move out of a nearby apartment building.

State law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school. By building the park, officials said, they would effectively force the sex offenders to leave the neighborhood. This section of Harbor Gateway has one of the city’s highest concentrations of registered sex offenders: 86 live in a 13-block area.

Los Angeles plans to build a total of three pocket parks with the intent of driving out registered sex offenders; two will be in Wilmington.

The action marks the latest campaign by local governments to drive sex offenders farther into the fringes of society. The state law already bans offenders from living in huge swaths of urban areas, pushing them into industrial districts and remote towns and into neighborhoods like Harbor Gateway that lack schools and parks.

Communities in Orange County have passed laws barring sex offenders from county parks and beaches. There is a new push at Los Angeles City Hall to ban offenders from living near day-care centers and locations that house after-school programs.

Backers of the park plan say it’s a novel way to move out offenders while providing more recreation space.

“I want to do everything in my power to keep child sex offenders away from children,” said City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the 15th District, which includes Wilmington and Harbor Gateway. “We have to look at some solutions and in comes the pocket park idea.”

The effort, however, has others questioning whether these restrictions make communities safer and whether they infringe on the rights of offenders.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation study released in October showed that about 2% of convicted sex offenders are sent back to prison on a new sex-abuse offense. The study covered data from 2008.

“People are running around with hysteria when they don’t know the facts,” said Janice Bellucci, president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of those convicted of sex crimes. “I understand that sex offenders are not a popular part of society, but they have constitutional rights.” Full Article

Related posts

Notify of

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...


  1. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  2. Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  3. Swear words should be starred out such as f*k and s*t and a**
  4. Please avoid the use of derogatory labels.  Use person-first language.
  5. Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  6. Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  7. Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  8. We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  9. We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address that are not personally identifiable.
  10. Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  11. Please do not post in all Caps.
  12. If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links. Posts that include a URL may take considerably longer to be approved.
  13. We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  14. We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  15. Please choose a short user name that does not contain links to other web sites or identify real people.  Do not use your real name.
  16. Please do not solicit funds
  17. No discussions about weapons
  18. If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), Person Forced to Register (PFR) or any others, the first time you use it in a thread, please expand it for new people to better understand.
  19. All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them.  It will not be displayed on the site.
  20. Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues via email to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
  21. We no longer post articles about arrests or accusations, only selected convictions. If your comment contains a link to an arrest or accusation article we will not approve your comment.
  22. If addressing another commenter, please address them by exactly their full display name, do not modify their name. 
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This is unconscionable! The idea that a city will create a park solely for the reason of forcing 33 of its citizens to move is completely without merit. It is a decision based upon fear and not facts. The facts are that 98 percent of registrants do not commit another sex offense and that 93 percent of those who commit a sexual assault upon a child are family members, teachers, coaches and members of the clergy. Not to mention the cost. One park alone will cost $300,000. If it’s so important to move out registrants, perhaps each person should be offered $10,000 to find a new home.

Sounds like another lawsuit waiting to happen to me. When will these people get tired of wasting money on unconstitutional laws?

This is a war but at least the other side could play fair!

How dare they stoop so low!
These are soulless people without any humanity at all.

This exposes them for what they really are.

I am about to send this as a letter to the editor of the LA Times:

I am not a sex offender and to my knowledge I don’t know any sex offenders. I certainly don’t condone the illegal actions of sex offenders. And under other circumstances I would think creating more parks is a good thing.

But when I read the LA Times article this morning I was horrified! Sex offenders need a home just like anyone else.

These people are human beings and need more support from the city and the general public, not less. I’m sure many or most are trying to put their lives back together. I imagine that most are trying to fight their own urges.

I just accessed for the first time the website of California Reform Sex Offender Laws, which I recommend: http://www.californiasol.org. Facts are important!

If the city wants to help society, it should assist former sex offenders to have decent housing, provide them social services and help them get jobs–rather than force them onto the streets.

What the city is doing is tantamount to emotional abuse!

Rebecca Rona
Culver City, CA

When you sue in federal court this time, monetary penalties should also be part of the equation, not just a ban on enforcement of the rules.

Rebecca, it is refreshing to know there are people out there like you.

Let’s go back to the 70’s and 80’s when the government created boogeyman was the drug dealer. All sorts of laws were passed and all to no effect. Fast forward and the RSO has become the new boogeyman for all to fear. I say fear the government, for they are the true boogeyman.

Interesting …. In the OC city where I live there are four surplus school properties that are up for sale (?) due to declining registration. There is a “mini” park attached to it, has been there for all the 24 years I’ve lived here and longer. One jungle gym, two swings, that’s it. I was hopeful that in the event this one surplus piece of property would be sold the mini park would go as well and possibly homes would be built there, thereby eliminating the 2,000 foot restrction. Well, I just read that the mini park, no matter what happens to the 9+ acres of the school, the park will remain. Seems the city and the school district just signed an extension for the mini park for another ten years! I wonder did they do this with the forethought of exactly what Los Angeles county is doing and for the exact same reason??

Best comment ever:

“The sex offenders should be thanking them for making them move out of Harbor Gateway.”

City of Long Beach did something similar a few years back with those community gardens that popped up in a middle of nowhere.. But it sort of didn’t work cause the city was to broke and couldn’t actively enforce their “Safe Children Zones..” Come to think of that, I haven’t seen those signs in awhile too… But I’m sure when the money starts to flow we shall be seeing all this happen again.

RSO’s are certainly being attacked by those ignorant of what offenses now require registration. Offenses such as looking at child pornography are now very vaguely defined as anything depicting a child that arouses you. It no long has to be sex-related at all.
As a young man, hardly mature yet curious about all kinds of sex-related things, I acquired, and then was arrested for possessing child pornography. I am about to try to go through the process of expungement and getting a certificate of rehabilitation so I begin to live again. The restrictions for parole/probation have been quoted to me as still pertaining to me as long as I am required to register(thanks for clearing that up for me Jeffrey). I am homeless and as such must register monthly. I just discovered you because of the LA article, and am relieved that someone has noticed. I have also noticed that there is no difference in how laws treat minor and major offenders. A prime example of this is the two 12 year olds that were declared as both victim and perp for having consensual sex in a state that declared no one under a certain age was allowed to do so. She fought the conviction for years before it was dismissed, and he pled guilty then had it expunged at 18. He was told he still must register for life. My case was a misdemeanor, yet I am still treated as though I attacked someone. Thank you for being here. I now have hope that someday this disparity may be repaired.

Why does a city need a weapon against someone whom the judicial system has deemed ready and fit to be released and not locked up? Explain that to me please.

If we are a danger we would be locked up. Clearly these restrictions are no different that the racist laws of that were designed to keep blacks from living in certain areas. Nothing more than that – PERIOD

They are uncositutional and I am sick of no one for actually telling it the way it is. It is NOT to keep children safe…there in no danger of the ROS would be locked up.

Either lock me up to restrict my movement or leave me alone. You can NOT have it both way! We have paid the debt to society and enough is enough!

Sad as it is to say, there is no recourse under law. The courts have decided that once the government gives you the monicker “sex offender”, you no longer have any Constitutional, Civil, or Human rights.
Your only purpose is to be used by the government as a folk devil to terrorize the populace with the threat that you’ll be set loose to kill and eat their children, unless they vote for _______ <<<(Insert politician here).

This isn't only sad. It's frightening. And the reason why it's frightening is only ever hinted at in articles like this.

You see, the people being targeted by these laws are having everything taken from them.
They can forget about building a new life, or creating a career, or even getting a job…..These people are now being precluded by -LAW- from even living indoors.

In other words, by legal mandate, these people now have nothing to lose.
And there is no creature more dangerous than a man with nothing left to lose.

*** moderator – please remove my previous post ***

*** thank you ***

While the forum offers a rare ability to vent our many frustrations, these sarcastic comments are most likely counterproductive to our efforts. I will retract other statements and refrain from making any that may lessen the effectiveness of our dialogue.