A self-described pedophile who says he is attracted to young girls but does not actually molest them was ordered Friday to stay at least 30 feet away from every person under age 18 in California.
Jack McClellan, who was not in court to hear Superior Court Judge Melvin Sandvig issue the temporary restraining order, told The Associated Press he did not learn of Friday's hearing in time to attend.
"That was granted? Oh, man, I didn't think it would be," McClellan said, adding he believed such an order would be an unconstitutional restriction of his rights.
McClellan, who is unemployed and lives out of his car, has created a furor across Southern California since arriving several weeks ago from Washington state, where he had lived with his parents.
For years, McClellan maintained a Web site on which he posted photos he took of children in public places. He also discussed how he liked to stake out parks, public libraries, fast-food restaurants and other areas where little girls, or "LGs," congregate.
"Most libraries have frequent programs and events for children, and sometimes you can get quite close to LGs there," he said in one posting.
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24 to discuss the restraining order further.
Web site taken off line
In a phone interview with the AP, McClellan said his intentions are misunderstood and insisted he would never actually molest a child.
"I guess there is some small chance maybe someday I might be able to get some sort of friendship with a girl and maybe then I might worry would I cross the line," he said. "But right now, no. There's no doubt in my mind I wouldn't."
Although he did not post any recognizable photos of girls on a similar Web site he put up after arriving in Los Angeles, McClellan said, word about him quickly spread in Internet chat rooms maintained by mothers of young children.
McClellan's server took his Web site down a month ago, and he said Friday he is not sure whether he'll try to put it back up.
"I'm listening to the criticism. I'm trying to see the other point of view. I'm trying to put myself in the parents' shoes," he said. "That was one of the reasons I really reformed the camera stuff."
Since his arrival in Southern California, people have reported seeing McClellan, 45, in several communities where large numbers of children were present. He does not deny being there, acknowledging Friday that he visited the Orange County Fair in particular several times.
'It is very unusual'
In Santa Monica, a mother saw McClellan in a restaurant and called police, who arrived in time to talk with him and ask if they could take his picture.
He agreed, saying he thought it would allow them to quickly clear him of any sex crimes in their city. But he was unhappy when they posted it on the Internet along with his driver's license photo and a warning to parents to call them if they see him.
It also gave a clear view of the self-described pedophile's face, which he has shielded in several TV appearances with dark glasses and sometimes a floppy hat.
Such appearances, in which McClellan appears articulate but disheveled, have confounded both parents and experts on pedophilia.
"It is very unusual. We've found that pedophiles and sexual predators normally operate in the dark and don't make that type of thing public," said Capt. Joe Gutierrez, who heads the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's special victims unit.