A serial rapist who admitted assaulting dozens of women in the 1970s and '80s and has been confined for nearly two decades because of his violent sexual tendencies could reside in an unincorporated area east of Palmdale after his release, state authorities announced Friday.
A landlord has agreed to rent a single-family residence in a sparsely populated area in the 20000 block of East Avenue R to house Christopher Evans Hubbart, 63, who served about 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting at least 40 women and has been held in mental institutions since his release.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown on Friday tentatively approved the location and set a hearing date to review public comments for May 21.
Authorities in Los Angeles County, where Hubbart was born and raised and briefly lived before his confinement, have unsuccessfully fought to keep him from being placed in the county. Last July, a state appellate court denied L.A. County prosecutors' request to have Hubbart placed instead in Santa Clara County, where his last crimes were committed.
L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said Friday that she wasn't finished with her attempt to keep Hubbart away. "I will continue to oppose Hubbart's release," she said in a statement. "My top priority is to protect our community."
If Hubbart is released here, Lacey said she would work with law enforcement to ensure he is closely watched and the conditions of his release strictly enforced.
County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whose district includes the Antelope Valley, said Friday that Hubbart should remain institutionalized, away from the public.
"It's outrageous that an admitted sexual predator with a long history of brutal crimes against women will be released in this community — or any community," he said in a statement.
Hubbart's attorney could not be reached for comment Friday. He has previously said that his client had undergone intensive treatment in the years of his confinement and no longer posed a public safety risk, especially given his age.
The residence announced Friday is the second location found by state authorities for Hubbart to live. A landlord in Lake Los Angeles who had initially agreed to house Hubbart backed out a week after the plan was made public because of pressure from the community.
The second location is a few miles east of the first proposed residence and falls outside the Lake Los Angeles census-designated area, with an asphalt coating business and a private airfield in the vicinity. The area has far more sand dunes and desert outcroppings than businesses or residents, said Lt. Paul Pfrehm of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lancaster Station, which patrols the area.
"We don't get a whole lot of calls from out there," he said. "You're isolated."
Araceli Estrada, a supervisor at Saddleback Market, the local grocery store, said she expected the same uproar from the community over the second proposed residence.
"People think, 'I know it's lonely up here, but why do they have to send 'em up here?'" she said. "I would be concerned if he moved here."
Hubbart, who has been confined since 1996 under a state law allowing authorities to commit sexually violent predators to state hospitals based on their likelihood of re-offending, will have round-the-clock security monitoring for at least 30 days. Additionally, he will be required to wear an ankle bracelet monitor and will be subject to regular drug and alcohol testing and lie-detector tests, said Santa Clara County Deputy Dist. Atty. Vonda Tracey.
Tracey said the home was at least three miles from any school or park, in compliance with state laws on sex offenders.
"From a public safety perspective it's a good location," she said after Friday's hearing, adding that the company contracted to house Hubbart had a good track record. "I'm confident they can keep people in the community safe."
L.A. County prosecutors invited the public to submit comments via email, at HubbartLASafetyTaskForce@da.lacounty.gov.