There is no doubt that California’s sex offender registry requirement (CA Penal Code, §290.46) has always been a hotly debated topic, but in Los Angeles, citizens seem to have taken matters into their own hands. In the Harbor Gateway area, plans are in the works to build one of the state’s smallest parks – a “pocket park” of 1,000 square feet – specifically in order to keep registered sex offenders from living in proximity to the region. Many individuals on California’s sex offender registry have been forced into homelessness – a situation in which it may be impossible for them to every have the hope of rebuilding their lives in a meaningful way.
There are several different ways in which a person could find him or herself on the sex offender registry; you could have been accused of:
- Rape (PC 261)
- Sexual battery (PC 243.4)
- Lewd acts with a minor (PC 288)
- Indecent exposure (PC 314)
When child pornography attorneys take into account that even those who have child pornography found on their computers are placed on the registry – often with little to no evidence that they have viewed the material, downloaded it themselves, specifically knew that the photos were of people under 18 or were lured into these sites by a law enforcement official pretending to be a younger person – then it is no wonder why there are ‘clusters’ of registered sex offenders that are a seeming cause for concern for LA residents.
The truth is that there are far too many instances in which a person finds themselves the victim of harsh and stringent penalties that do not fit the crime. These devastating consequences can follow an individual for the rest of their lives, making it difficult for them to find work – and now housing. If the trend begun in LA finds a foothold, it may mean that registered sex offenders will begin to feel abandoned and hopeless, making their recovery and attempt to rebuild their lives more difficult than ever. Better laws concerning sex offender registry are needed, not the creation of public areas from which these persons are banned.