By SARAH de CRESCENZO
LAKE FOREST – After a yearlong ban, registered sex offenders may be allowed back in city parks Tuesday.
The City Council is set to vote for a second and final time on a resolution repealing an ordinance passed unanimously in December 2011 – at the urging of the Orange County District Attorney's Office – banning convicted offenders from city parks.
Earlier this month city leaders began the process of reversing the ban. On Dec. 4, the council voted 4-0 in favor of the repeal, citing the cost of defending against lawsuits.
Lake Forest is one of four cities in Orange County named in a lawsuit filed anonymously by a registered sex offender who alleged that the ban violates his constitutional rights. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff committed his offense more than 15 years ago and is now married with children.
A recent ruling by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Orange County also played a role in the city's decision to backtrack. The ruling reversed the conviction of a registered sex offender who violated a county law similar to Lake Forest's.
In that ruling, a three-judge panel said the county law is superseded by state law.
Outgoing Councilman Mark Tettemer abstained from the vote earlier this month, arguing that the council should wait for incoming officials Dwight Robinson and Adam Nick to be seated.
The vote Tuesday will be among the first taken by Nick and Robinson, who were sworn into office at the end of the Dec. 4 meeting.
Lake Forest is one of 16 Orange County cities that have passed laws banning registered sex offenders from parks.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and county Supervisor Shawn Nelson crafted the county ban, passed by the Board of Supervisors in April 2011.
Since then, Rackauckas and his staffers have attended dozens of meetings encouraging cities to adopt similar restrictions.
The Lake Forest council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 25550 Commercentre Drive.