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Pedophile Jack McClellan loses appeal

Injunction upheld to keep him away from kids

Posted: January 21, 2009 9:09 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Jack McClellan

 

A self-proclaimed pedophile who promised to return to Santa Clarita Valley to watch young girls in public areas has lost his appeal of a statewide ban keeping him away from children.

Last week, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles upheld a 2007 Superior Court injunction that prohibits 46-year-old Jack McClellan from being within 10 yards of any child in California.

Local lawyer Anthony D. Zinnanti filed the injunction in August 2007 after reading reports in The Signal that McClellan planned to return to this valley with the intent of watching little girls at family events in public settings.

Zinnanti won his injunction, and on Aug. 3, 2007, Superior Court Judge Melvin D. Sandvig widened the scope of Zinnanti's injunction to include all of California.

He handed down a sweeping statewide order prohibiting McClellan from being within 10 yards of any child in California and ordering him not to loiter where children congregate.

The appellate panel of three judges - Justices Richard Dennis Aldrich, J. Anthony Klein and Patti Kitching - concluded that the injunction still stands. They also ordered McClellan to pay Zinnanti's court costs estimated to be between $500 and $1,000.

McClellan's lawyer compared the pedophile's ban to civil rights violations.

"This is about fear, hatred and public paranoia, the same forces that power racism and sexism," Richard Mario Procida said Wednesday, adding it was difficult for him "personally" to tackle such a "very very difficult" case.

"I think the message of this decision is ‘Don't express your feelings' and ‘Don't express your secret desires,'" said the Whittier attorney. "Don't express yourself because you could be prosecuted for it. Don't make a public confession because it could be interpreted as a threat."

Zinnanti said he was delighted at the decision.

"Everybody from Santa Clarita that I run into tells me, ‘Thanks for looking out for the kids.'" he said. "I couldn't not do what I did."

On Labor Day 2007, McClellan moved to Portland, Ore., after he was detained a couple of times by law enforcement officers upholding Sandvig's ruling.

McClellan vowed to appeal the injunction from out of state on grounds that his First Amendment rights were violated, specifically his right to express a preference for pre-pubescent girls.

McClellan ran a Web site that promoted "girl love," including advice to pedophiles as to where young girls congregate and the degree to which they were supervised.

Appellate court judges concluded: "The trial court's orders did not violate McClellan's fundamental rights."
McClellan argued two points in a bid to appeal his statewide restraining order.

According to court documents obtained by The Signal, McClellan argued the injunction was "improper," because "they were based on the content of his speech that promotes sexual relations with children as being healthy."

He also argued the injunction placed restraints on his publishing activities.

The judges in their ruling wrote: "We are not persuaded by either argument."

They explained their decision as: "McClellan is not prohibited from espousing his controversial views.

Rather, he is prohibited from his continuing course of conduct to harass, attack, assault, stalk and keep under surveillance minor children, as to do so places the children in danger, and is threatening to them.

"The voyeur and stalking nature of McClellan's activities and his attendance at functions where children congregate, in conjunction with his use of photographs of small children, is offensive, frightening, menacing and not protected by McClellan's free speech or assembly rights."

As a result of the court decision, McClellan is still barred from being within 30 feet of any child in California.
Procida would not confirm whether McClellan was still living in Oregon.

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