Sex offenders arrested on alleged parole violations after Wilmington motel raid
Stuffed animals, teen magazines and children's underwear were found in a Wilmington motel that was home to dozens of convicted child molesters and registered sex offenders, authorities said Monday.
Eight people were taken into custody in the Friday raid for alleged parole violations, including possession of child pornography or narcotics.
Most of those arrested were middle-aged men whose previous offenses included lewd and lascivious conduct with children or other sex crimes, said Det. Patricia Batts of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Other items seized included video games, cartoon videos or DVDs, sex toys and baby magazines.
"Some of these things are used to lure young kids," said Batts, who supervises the LAPD's Harbor Division sex unit. "A baby magazine, like if you or I had a child? There's no need for them to have that except the pictures excite them."
The Harbor Inn in the 700 block of Flint Avenue is a hub for sex offenders because of its history as a state-funded waystation for newly released prisoners, Batts said.
The government no longer subsidizes offenders to live there, but a California law that restricts sex offenders from living and working near schools and parks keeps the legacy alive.
The motel is in a business district, but non-offenders also live there. Authorities had received reports of children coming in and out, although no evidence of that turned up during the raid, Batts said.
The sweep was designed in part to instill public confidence that parole officers do keep track of parolees.
Batts said once offenders are off parole, authorities can only monitor their compliance with registration requirements.
"We don't have a lot of control," she said. "We're concerned with cuts in the state budget, violations will not be taken seriously enough."
The raid was organized in response to reports that children were visiting the motel. A hand-written sign in the lobby reads: "No Kids."
One man convicted of a violent sex offense was arrested with a bag of pornography and sex paraphernalia. The children's underwear were found in the room of a convicted child molester.
Authorities also confiscated a computer and several digital media devices.
Officers from the Inglewood, Long Beach, Montebello and Los Angeles police departments, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, the L.A. County Probation Department and the Department of Children and Family Services took part in the raid.
-- Gale Holland
Map: The approximate location of the motel is shown in black and recent crime reports are shown in brown and red. Credit: Crime L.A.