LOMPOC, Calif.- - A Grover beach man who filed a lawsuit against the city of Lompoc and
several others could get his way if City Council makes changes to sex
offender laws at its city council meeting next week.
The Megan's law registry is where people can find if sex offenders are
living near them, and those offenders have rules to follow, like not living too close to places like parks or schools where children are present.
Mayor John Linn of Lompoc said "The supreme court in the past has found Megan's law constitutional."
At the same time an appeals court sees the law differently, so Lompoc's mayor says, while it's all being sorted out in court the city will consider repealing it's stricter rules on where sex offenders can go.
Some of his residents don't think the city should take that step.
Lompoc resident Andrea Genovese said "A very close friend of mine was sexually molested all her life, I don't like to mention her name , but those men have repeatedly done the same thing to her over and over again."
The man who filed suit Frank Lindsay, said he did it so he could go more places. Lindsay said all sex offenders aren't the same. Lindsay said he's a different man today than when he was convicted more than 35 years ago.
Lindsay said " I think it's fantastic the city of Lompoc has seen value in complying with the law."
Lindsay hasn't been convicted of a felony since that one in 1979.
He believes present laws should be taken off the books and instead
cities could create a registry that fits the crime.
Lindsay's lawsuit claims it's unreasonable for the city to expect people like him to know where they can and can't visit.
Mayor Linn said, "It means we will revert back to the state requirements."
This was pulled directly from the staff report which is available on the City's website:
The proposal before the Council is to:
(1) Amend the City's sex offender ordinance to align the City's loitering restrictions with the state loitering standard, set forth at California Penal Code section 653b, which provides any 290 registrant who "loiters about any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate" is guilty of a misdemeanor (id. at subds. (b)-(c)), as opposed to the Ordinance's current requirement for registered sex offenders to remain 300 feet from numerous child-centric locations in the city.
(2) Temporarily stay enforcement of Lompoc's residency restrictions, which provide that registered sex offenders may not live "2,000 feet from . . . a child care center, public or private school . . . park, or public library," until such time as the California Supreme Court has issued a final and binding decision in the matter of In Re Taylor. In Re Taylor involves a challenge to a local residency restriction, and has been accepted for Supreme Court review. We expect this case will shed light on the appropriate level of local regulation of sex offender residency, and when it does, the City will either reinstate or amend its restrictions to accord with the Court's ruling.
(3) Approve a settlement agreement regarding the litigation initiated against the City by Plaintiff, Frank Lindsay, a registered sex offender who has filed identical litigation in at least four other California cities. The settlement contemplates a minimal attorneys' fees payment of $2,500, in exchange for which the lawsuit will be dismissed without the City having to spend any money answering the complaint or litigating the case.
Lindsay Tabaian, the city's attorney, said the City Attorney's office is recommending that the Council take these actions in order to respond to recent litigation in California's high courts on these issues, which litigation includes two notable cases. The first, People v. Nguyen, is a recently published case out of the Fourth District Court of Appeals which determined state law preempted municipalities from adopting ordinances prohibiting sex offenders from entering local parks. In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeals stated that the state of California "created a standardized, statewide system to identify, assess, monitor and contain known sex offenders for the purpose of reducing the risk of recidivism posed by these offenders, thereby protecting victims and potential victims from future harm." Accordingly, we have recommended that the City adopt the state loitering standard in order to comply with this ruling.
The second, as described above, is the In re Taylor case. Due to the Supreme Court's acceptance of review in this case, we have recommended that the City stay its residency restrictions until we know the final state of the law on this issue.