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Moms want sex offender gone

Posted: April 22, 2008 2:19 a.m.
Updated: June 23, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Mothers who want a registered sex offender out of their mobile home community were stepping up their efforts Monday to convince him to move.

On Friday, The Signal reported that John Joseph Gambill, 48, who was convicted for continuous sexual abuse of a child, recently moved into the Parklane Mobile Home Estates on Soledad Canyon Road, about the distance of a football field away from Rio Vista Elementary School.

Since the story appeared, mothers of children living inside the mobile home community have made copies of the newspaper article and distributed them inside the park, complained formally to park owners and are now trying to find someone to translate news about Gambill in an effort to alert Spanish-speaking residents.

Gambill reportedly continues to live inside the park in the home.

"I just want the guy out of here," said Heidi Chester, mother of a 12-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy. "When you consider what I had to do to move in here - background check, police check, credit check - and he's allowed to come in under the radar."

Chester said many of the park's residents don't speak English and that, as a result, has sparked concern among park mothers to have information about Gambill posted on fliers in Spanish.

Gambill lives a stone's throw from Honby Avenue on a street inside the park that serves as a main thoroughfare for Rio Vista students walking to school.

Keith Karzin, safety and risk management director for the Saugus Union School District, is reportedly investigating the one formal complaint received by the school about the sex offender.

Three phone messages to Karzin Monday were not returned by early evening.

A woman who answers the phone at the management office for the mobile home park said she's been instructed by the owners not to talk to the media.

Parklane Mobile Home Estates is owned and operated by the property management company Cal-Am Properties Inc., founded in 1988 with offices in California, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Washington and Oregon.

"We've talked with the owner and we've been instructed, at this time, not to comment," said company spokesman Pete Jorde, reached by phone Monday at the company's corporate headquarters in Costa Mesa.

"Under the circumstances," he said, "we have to go with that. Call back in a few days to see if anything has changed."

Gambill, who had been living in Sylmar and, according to one report, working at car wash, moved into his mother's home inside the park after the woman died recently.

One law enforcement officer confirmed for The Signal that Gambill's next of kin was listed as having lived inside the mobile park.

Jessica's Law prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park, but the law applies only to those people convicted after November 2006.

Under Megan's Law, parolees convicted of specified sex offenses against a child are barred from residing within a quarter-mile of a school.

The Megan's Law Web site which alerts the community about registered sex offenders posts Gambill's photograph and address online; however, it does not specify whether he is still on parole.

Park resident Denise Olsen, mother of an 11-year-old girl, told The Signal: "He's way too close to the school.

"One of my neighbors was handing out (fliers) to everybody. We've called the park to complain."

Meanwhile, Gambill remains one of more than 275 convicted sex offenders living in Santa Clarita at this moment, said Detective Eric Lasko of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

"The Megan's Law Web site is only going to show about half of them," he said, pointing out that many registered sex offenders can apply to the Attorney General's office to have their names removed from the Web site after a certain period of time.


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