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Molester Imprisoned for Parole Offense

May 21, 1997|GEOFF BOUCHER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sidney Landau, the Orange County child molester who has shuttled from city to city to escape protesters and the glare of publicity brought by Megan's Law, will return to a prison cell, a state parole board ruled Tuesday.

The board ruled that Landau, 57, violated his parole when he shoved a television cameraman April 25 while dodging a group of protesters who had tracked him down to a motel in Orange.

The board, finding "some mitigating factors," chose not to give Landau the maximum sentence for the violation, which was a year in custody, according to Liz Tanaka, spokeswoman for the state Board of Prison Terms.

Landau, a twice-convicted molester, in January became the first California sex offender to be targeted by Megan's Law--a controversial measure that allows police to publicize the whereabouts of sex offenders.

A flood of fliers handed out by Placentia police made Landau a notorious local figure and the focus of repeated protests, which eventually drove him out of two local homes. The protests followed him to motels in Fullerton and Orange, including the Ramada Inn Disneyland South, the site of Landau's incident with an Orange County cable news cameraman.

Landau spoke on his own behalf during the three-hour hearing at the California Institution for Men in Chino. His attorney, T. Matthew Phillips, appeared as a witness, but could not represent his client under rules guiding the proceeding.

"The whole thing was a farce. . . . It was like the Spanish Inquisition," Phillips said, pointing out that his client was jailed even though the cameraman who was shoved did not show up and no criminal charge was filed based on the incident.

Landau was being held Tuesday night at the prison, but it was unclear whether he would remain there for the duration of his six-month sentence. Tanaka said that except for the shoving incident, the parole panel found that he had shown "satisfactory" parole behavior.

Landau served eight years of a 17-year sentence for molesting an 8-year-old Anaheim boy. He also served two years after a 1982 conviction for molesting a 10-year-old boy.

Landau was the first of three Orange County sex offenders to be publicized under Megan's Law, and in each case the police announcements have sparked embittered community protests and debate over the law's effect.

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