SANTA ANA — Seeking to capitalize on the growing awareness and momentum against sex offenders who victimize children, Orange County officials announced on Tuesday that the Sheriff's Department will join a Southern California multi-agency law enforcement team that seeks to reduce child sex assaults and exploitation.
The announcement, made as the parents of child murder victim Anthony Michael Martinez looked on, came on the day the state made available a database listing the whereabouts of 63,920 registered sex offenders and a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a federal law meant to curb smut on the Internet.
With those milestones, Board of Supervisors Chairman William G. Steiner said, the time was right for Orange County to intensify its pursuit of such cases. The Sheriff's Department will assign a full-time investigator to the 12-person Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team, or SAFE. In return, the task force will hone in on cases in the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.
"By adding one investigator, we get 13," said Steiner spokesman James Campbell, who estimated the annual cost to the county at $96,000.