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Child Molester to Leave Prison With New Name : Crime: His victim, now 14, and her mother fought his parole. The girl won a $2-million suit against him in January.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The convicted molester of a 10-year-old girl will be released today to Palmdale after serving half of a three-year term.

Kyle Hochstraser, who was known as Richard Streate before changing his name in prison, will return to the city where four years ago he molested Desiray Bartak.

Desiray and her mother, Wayanne Kruger, waged an unsuccessful letter-writing campaign to the Parole Board in February when they were notified of Hochstraser’s possible release. They were told June 7 of the board’s decision.

“I am irate that he is being released,” said Kruger, who lived with her daughter in Thousand Oaks at the time of the attack.

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The girl’s attacker was her godfather. She was visiting him in Palmdale.

Desiray, now 14 and living in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, said the reality of her molester’s release sank in Monday evening. “I am scared for other children,” she said. “It hit me real bad last night. . . . I was crying, I felt almost powerless.”

She said her family moved to Northern California in anticipation of Hochstraser’s release. “We just wanted to get out of Southern California,” said Desiray. “From what he has done in the past, we don’t know what he will do in the future.”

Under a plea bargain, Hochstraser admitted guilt in January, 1993, to one count of committing a lewd act upon a child. Three other felony charges against him, including an allegation that he molested another 10-year-old girl, were dropped in the bargain with prosecutors, authorities said.

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The case came to national attention in January when Desiray won a $2-million civil suit against her attacker. But Desiray has said she does not expect to receive the money because her attacker does not have any assets. She says she initiated the case to bring attention to the issue and “to show other children that we do have power.”

Tip Kindel, assistant director of the California Department of Corrections, said Hochstraser’s early release is normal.

“This happens with 90% of inmates in state prison,” Kindel said. “Almost every inmate can qualify for the 1983 Work Incentive Program, which allows them to earn credit off their sentence if they go to school or enroll in work programs.”

The program is available to all inmates in state prison with the exception of those convicted of murder, kidnaping or any other offense that requires an appearance before a Parole Board hearing. Child molestation is not included in that group of more serious crimes.

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An official with the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley, an organization that focuses on the treatment of child abuse victims, was concerned about Hochstraser’s return to the city.

“There is no reason to believe that he is any different than when he went in or that the community will be safe,” said Esther Gillies, executive director of the center.

But she said that additional prison time probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Rehabilitation, she said, “is a lifelong process that a sex offender has to deal with.”

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Like many child advocates, Gillies supports publishing a child molester’s name to warn the public.

“That way their behavior is controlled in public as well as private places,” she said. “Those around sex offenders on a daily basis should know that their children are at risk.”

Kindel said he was disturbed by Hochstraser’s name change in prison, and sees it as a dangerous practice that should be discontinued.

“It makes it very difficult for a victim to keep track of the person in prison and while they are on parole,” Kindel said. “Inmates should not have the absolute right to go to court to change their name.”

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There are no restrictions on inmates who want to change their names, Kindel said.


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