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Sex Offender Park

4-30-2007 California:

This new park in Sylmar will not only be a haven for kids, but could actually force sex offenders who live in this motel down the block out.

"They shouldn't be in motels with children walking around here. They should not be here."

There are at least eight sex offenders in the motel behind me. Some are placed here by the state; all of them here legally -- at least for now. But just down the block community members have built a park and once it officially opens, some of the sex offenders will be forced to move out.

People like Tomas Torres, convicted of lewd acts on a child. He could be forced to move because by law, some sex offenders can't live within a half-mile of a park.
Claudio Rodriguez is president of the Tessera Homeowners Association. They donated the land for the park. Rodriguez says at first some people actually were apprehensive.

"What was the fear that the park would do?" "Draw them closer. Some people are ruthless and everybody feared for kids. What would happen? Would my kids be stolen by somebody?"

Last year residents banded together and protested the placement of the sex offenders in another hotel in Sylmar. So it's no secret they're here.

But Rodriguez says it's just a coincidence that the building of the park could force them to move.

"Yeah that would be a plus but we still have to watch our kids." "I know there are a lot of sex offenders here."
The manager of the motel didn't want to comment.

The sex offenders weren't home or wouldn't open the doors when I tried to talk with them.

But other communities are looking at doing the same thing. Building a park that would beautify the scenery as well as the safety of their neighborhood. ..more.. by David Goldstein

See also: Board of Recreation Park and Commissioners report.

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