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L.A. County supervisor raises alarm about release of serial rapist

Abusive BehaviorJustice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeSafety of CitizensPolitics

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich expressed alarm Monday at a judge's recent decision to clear the way for the release of a convicted sex offender who has been linked to about 40 rapes throughout the state.

Antonovich said the release of Christopher Evans Hubbart would create a serious public safety risk and has asked county prosecutors to brief the Board of Supervisors at the panel's regular weekly meeting Tuesday.

"A predator of this nature deserves life without parole," Antonovich said in a statement released late Monday.

In May, a Santa Clara County judge ordered that Hubbart could be conditionally released after spending years in state mental hospitals in treatment specifically for sex offenders.

Hubbart was first arrested on rape charges in Los Angeles in 1972 and has since admitted sexually assaulting 25 women in the area, according to a 2004 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision. After his release in 1979, Hubbart moved to the Bay Area and raped an additional 15 women within two years, the court said. He was imprisoned again and released on parole in 1990.

Shortly after his release, he attempted to grab a woman in Santa Clara County, a prosecutor there said. Hubbart was convicted of false imprisonment and returned to prison.

Santa Clara County Deputy Dist. Atty. Vonda Tracey, who heads the office's unit that handles cases involving sexually violent predators, said a judge found Hubbart appropriate for conditional release after hearing from experts familiar with his case who said they believed Hubbart was ready to leave Coalinga State Hospital.

Tracey said Hubbart would be released under strict supervision, including a regular escort at first and electronic monitoring. He will be subject to random searches, a curfew and restrictions on where he can go, and he will continue to undergo regular treatment, she said.

"With the protections in place, they can keep him on a short leash," Tracey said.

She said a private company, Liberty Healthcare, is seeking housing for Hubbart, a process that generally takes six months to a year. Tracey said she would be most concerned if Hubbart is unable to find suitable housing and the court allows him to be released but requires him to stay on the move.

"That’s a nightmare from a supervision standpoint and a public safety standpoint," she said. "I'm confident that Liberty can keep close tabs on him if he has housing."

 

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jack.leonard@latimes.com

Twitter: @jackfleonard

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