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BELLFLOWER : New Law Holds Parents Liable for Kids' Crimes

July 28, 1994|JOHN CANALIS

In an attempt to reduce late-night gang activity, the City Council voted to sue parents whose children repeatedly violate the law, including the city's 10 p.m. curfew.

The ordinance, which passed on a 3-2 vote, allows the city to file civil suits asking for up to $2,500 from parents of chronic offenders, said Mike Egan, deputy city administrator.

"The parents are held accountable for failing to control the child," Egan said.

Though directed at curfew breakers, the ordinance also can be used against the parents of children who violate laws forbidding graffiti, alcohol and drug possession and other misdemeanors.

Egan said parents will receive a warning letter after the first offense. The city will take parents to court after the third offense in most cases, Egan said, adding that they have the authority to sue after the first violation.

Council members Art Olivier and Ruth Gilson voted against the measure. Gilson said the penalties are too severe.

"They say they won't use it on first offenders, but they can," Gilson said.

The ordinance goes into effect Aug. 11.

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