Orange County finds itself at the enter of a new wave of laws restricting the movement of sex offenders. The county government and a dozen cities here have banned sex offenders from even setting foot in public parks, on beaches and at harbors, rendering almost half the parks in Orange County closed to them. Ten more cities are considering similar legislation.
And Orange County is far from alone. In recent years, communities around the country have gone beyond regulating where sex offenders can live and begun banning them outright from a growing list of public places.
From North Carolina to Washington State, communities have designated swimming pools, parks and school bus stops as “child safety zones,” off limits to some sex offenders. They are barred from libraries in half a dozen Massachusetts cities, and from all public facilities in tiny Huachuca City, Ariz.
Here in Louisiana, a bill that will ban sex offenders from public libraries is awaiting the governor’s signature, which it will certainly receive. Our 12 year old son volunteers in the local library, and couldn’t figure out the other day why the librarians were being so protective of him. It turns out that a known, registered sex offender was loitering in the library that afternoon. All perfectly legal — until the governor signs the bill, that is. Bring it.