Image: Jack McClellan
Karen Tapia-andersen  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Jack McClellan discussed on his blog how he liked to stake out areas where little girls congregate.
updated 8/24/2007 3:40:26 PM ET 2007-08-24T19:40:26

A judge revised a restraining order against self-described pedophile Jack McClellan on Friday, ordering him to stay at least 10 yards from places where children congregate, including schools, playgrounds and child care centers.

Superior Court Judge Melvin Sandvig had initially ordered McClellan to stay at least 10 yards from every person under age 18 in California for a three-year period.

As he left the hearing, McClellan told reporters: “I don’t know what I’m going to do now.”

McClellan, 45, came to the attention of authorities for a Web site where he had posted photos of children in public places and discussed how he liked to stake out parks, libraries, fast-food restaurants and other areas where little girls congregated.

McClellan maintained he launched the site as a form of therapy and wouldn’t do anything illegal. He has never been charged with molestation.

His Internet server took his Web site down more than a month ago.

Sandvig did not give specific reasons for revising his initial order but indicated he was aware of concerns about its constitutionality given its sweeping nature.

“Minor children are a group that do need extra protection because they can’t be watched 24-seven,” the judge said.

Original ruling criticized by civil libertarians
McClellan was arrested Aug. 13 for investigation of violating the order when he was found near a child care center at the University of California, Los Angeles. He had a camera with him at the time, but he told a local TV station there wasn’t any film in it.

Prosecutors dropped the criminal case against him after determining the order had been invalid because the judge failed to schedule and give McClellan proper notice of a hearing required to argue its merits.

Attorneys Anthony D. Zinnanti and Richard A. Patterson had sought the order behalf of their children. After the hearing, they said they believed McClellan would follow the restrictions.

Civil libertarians and others had argued that the original sweeping restraining order had virtually barred McClellan from the state by forbidding him from going near any child.

Zinnanti said that, with the modified order, “Mr. McClellan can go shopping ... he’s not barred from having a life, but there is, however, a perimeter around children.” He said he and Patterson had also offered to help McClellan get counseling.

McClellan has been unemployed and living out of his car since arriving in Southern California this summer from Washington.

At the hearing, he was represented by attorney Robert J. Wilson, who said he was acting at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. However, Wilson was handed a note by the bailiff during the hearing that said the ACLU would not be taking McClellan’s case.

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