Despite opposition from Orange County prosecutors, a child molester with 17 known victims will be released from a state mental hospital within 72 hours, authorities said Thursday.
The Orange County district attorney's office put up "vigorous objection and arguments" to the release of former teacher Alan Thomas Rigby, 66, who has been at Coalinga State Hospital for 16 years. He was committed there after serving half of a 19-year prison sentence, according to prosecutors.
At a hearing Thursday morning, a judge found that there is nothing suggesting Rigby is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon his release.
Prosecutors had argued Rigby "still poses a danger to the community based on his past crimes and propensity for sexual assaults against children," according to a statement issued by the district attorney's office.
Between 1985 and 1987, Rigby molested 15 boys and two girls -- ages 10 to 14 years old -- while working as a physical education teacher at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar. Most of the acts involved Rigby telling the victims to perform sexual acts as "initiation" into a secret club.
To designate a person as a sexually violent predator, defendants must meet three criteria: They must have committed a sexually violent offense against one or more victims; be diagnosed with a mental disorder; and be likely to reoffend as a result of the mental disorder unless held in custody and treated.
A Department of State Hospitals evaluator found Rigby did not meet the third criteria based on his age and the completion of a sexual offender treatment program at the mental hospital.