A convicted sex offender charged last week with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Santa Clarita is in the country illegally and had recently been released on bail from immigration custody, according to federal authorities.
Keane Dean, 26, a citizen of the Philippines, was released in April on $10,000 bond so he could be free while he contested his immigration case. He had been targeted for deportation because of his criminal record.
The 14-year-old girl, who was found in Dean's garage, told investigators that Dean befriended her at a grocery store the previous day, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Dean has been charged with two counts of child sexual abuse and is being held in lieu of $110,000 bail.
In recent weeks, the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by an immigrant who had been deported five times galvanized anti-immigration advocates outraged that the local sheriff did not hand the suspect over to immigration authorities.
Dean was released through a different mechanism: a bond hearing required for most Southern California immigration detainees after six months.
But to some, the Dean case is another tragedy resulting from what they see as the lenient treatment of immigrants who commit crimes while in the country illegally.
"Detaining deportable immigrants is imperative because they're flight risks, and in the case of criminals because they're likely to reoffend," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
In March 2014, Dean was caught inappropriately touching himself inside a Macy's department store and was banned from the Glendale Galleria for three years. He was sentenced to six months in state prison for indecent exposure and 16 months for burglary, to be served concurrently, a district attorney's spokesman said.
Dean also has a 2008 conviction for lewd conduct in public.
Los Angeles County Public Defender Irv Rubin, who represented Dean at his arraignment Friday, said Dean is no longer his client and has not been assigned a new attorney.
After serving his time at Kern Valley State Prison, Dean was turned over to immigration authorities in October 2014 and housed at the Adelanto detention facility.
Since late 2012, immigration detainees at Adelanto and three other local facilities have received a bond hearing within six months as a result of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Southern California and others. Detainees entitled to the hearings are those in mandatory detention because of their criminal histories — including some lawful permanent residents — and those caught trying to enter the country without documentation.
For the immigration judge to deny the bond, the government must prove that the detainee is a flight risk or a danger to the community.
"This injunction will not flood our streets with fearsome criminals seeking to escape the force of American immigration law," Judge Kim Wardlaw of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in an April 2013 opinion affirming the need for the bond hearings.
Dean was released April 29 after posting $10,000 bond.
The bonds give detainees, many of whom have lived in the United States for years, a chance to reunite with their families while fighting their deportations, said Ahilan Arulanantham, deputy legal director at the ACLU of Southern California.
Alejandro Rodriguez, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, was in immigration detention for more than three years. He was a lawful permanent resident who was flagged for deportation because of a 2003 conviction for drug possession as well as a 1998 conviction for unlawfully taking a vehicle.
"This rule provides due process, and it would be a mistake to abandon that rule because you have one or even a few instances where people go out and do bad things," Arulanantham said.
According to statistics compiled by the ACLU, detainees were granted bond in about 70% of the 1,680 hearings held between October 2012 and April 2014. About 70% of those who were granted bond were able to post it and were released. The ACLU does not have figures on what percentage of detainees have criminal histories or what percentage have committed crimes while out on bond, Arulanantham said.
After his release, Dean complied with requirements to check in regularly with immigration authorities, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement contractors visited his home, said Virginia Kice, an agency spokeswoman. He wore a GPS monitor as part of his parole on the state criminal charges. Kice said Dean had come to ICE's attention prior to his 2014 convictions, but she could not say why he had not been deported earlier.
The parents of the 14-year-old girl discovered she was missing about 9:30 p.m. on July 14. Sheriff's deputies checked her phone records and found she had recently spoken with Dean. He answered when they called and said he did not know where the girl was, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Deputies found the girl in the garage of Dean's Santa Clarita home. She told them that Dean had sexually assaulted her, the Sheriff's Department said.