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Sex offender charged for sleeping in park

October 15, 2012

A Costa Mesa man is being charged with violating a city ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from entering city parks, prosecutors said Monday.

Stephen Lee Austin, 25, was arrested after being found sleeping at the Costa Mesa Historical Society building within Lions Park about midnight Sept. 12, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

The day before, a park ranger gave Austin a citation, warning him that it is illegal to sit or climb on a public building, prosecutors said.

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The district attorney's office also said that in July, Austin signed a document outlining the ordinance that bans him from entering county and city parks in places like Costa Mesa that have approved a sex-offender ordinance.

If convicted, Austin faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Austin pleaded guilty in December 2007 to one felony count of lewd acts with a child younger than 14. According to prosecutors, while swimming alone with an 11-year-old, he pulled down her bathing suit bottom and had her touch his penis through his clothes.

He was sentenced to three years of formal probation and sex offender registration for life.

Austin's arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 am. Wednesday at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

—Bradley Zint

Twitter: @bradleyzint

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