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UPDATE: Judge says serial rapist Christopher Evans Hubbart to be released

Posted: May 23, 2014 11:55 a.m.
Updated: May 23, 2014 2:53 p.m.

Christopher Evans Hubbart.

 

A judge on Friday ordered that a serial rapist be released to live in a Los Angeles County community in spite of a host of vocal protests.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown issued a brief order saying that Christopher Evans Hubbart, 63, must be released by July 7, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. With several severe restrictions that include 24-hour GPS monitoring, Hubbart will be allowed to rent a small house in a remote area in Lake Los Angeles, near the city of Palmdale.

The decision comes two days after a daylong hearing in Northern California, where Brown heard passionate objections from residents, many of whom drove 350 miles north from Southern California. Hubbart’s most recent crimes occurred in Santa Clara County, but Brown ordered him released to Los Angeles County, where Hubbart was born and raised.

“I am extremely disappointed with the court’s decision,” said Lacey, who spent months fighting the release into her county of man with a history of at least 40 rapes.

“Now we are preparing for his arrival,” she said. “We will do everything within our authority to protect the residents of Los Angeles County from this dangerous predator.”

Hubbart will wear a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week GPS monitor on his ankle and will be accompanied by security people every time he goes out in public for the first six months to a year of his release, Lacey said. He will be transported to therapy sessions twice a week.

Brown said he received an enormous outpouring of emails, petitions, cards, letters and postings on a website set up by Lacey for public comment. The documents filled two banker boxes as well as two full binders, he said.

“The court has reviewed them all,” Brown said, offering no other comment.

“The court approves the proposed address. Mr. Hubbart is ordered to be placed within 45 days,” he said in his written order.

Hubbart has acknowledged raping and assaulting about 40 women between 1971 and 1982, when he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was paroled in 1990, but arrested in a new attack just two months later and returned to prison until 1996.

When his term ended, he was deemed a sexually violent predator and confined to a state mental hospital. Doctors at the hospital recently concluded he was fit for release, but few options were available. California laws bar sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and other places where children congregate, eliminating nearly all urban areas in the state.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a statement that the decision is “an unconscionable threat to public safety.”

“Despite the best efforts by the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Judge Brown refused to order Hubbart to undergo a new mental health evaluation to determine his mental state prior to his release,” said Antonovich. “His last mental health evaluation was fifteen months ago.  

“The judge’s order failed to consider the objections by law enforcement as well as the grave concerns expressed by the community who sent thousands of opposition letters,” Antonovich continued. “It’s outrageous that an admitted sexual predator with a long history of brutal crimes against women be released in this community — or any community.”  

Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, who also represents portions of the Santa Clarita Valley, said the court “made a horrendous error in judgment in deciding to place this parolee into Lake Los Angeles.”

“This is an unfair decision that flies in the face of the traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice,” said Fox, in a statement. “We are being dumped on.”

Fox had previously introduced a bill, Assembly Bill 1607, that would require courts to give residents of counties receiving sexual violent predators a voice early in the judicial process. That bill passed the state Assembly Friday.

Palmdale Mayor James Ledford said he was “a little upset” on learning the news.

“It’s very disappointing, very disappointing that this guy with this kind of record in the past would be put into any community,” he said.

Ledford said the city is going to continue to try to fight the order.

“We can’t hold that judge accountable from the Antelope Valley. We’re just a place he dumps,” Ledford said. “We have to find some options to protect our community. We don’t think the judicial system is doing it.”

Cheryl Holbrook, who is a member of the Ladies of Lake LA, a community group created to fight Hubbart’s release to their community, said she and others in the group were headed out to Hubbart’s new address Friday afternoon to protest.

Holbrook, who lives about 5 miles away from Hubbart’s proposed home, said she was shaking because of the news, which she said was made worse by terrible memories of being raped as a 14-year-old by two men at knifepoint and impregnated.

She had traveled up north to speak before the judge and was dismayed by the decision.

“I think it’s wrong,” Holbrook said. “When this guy commits another crime, the blood’s going to be on that judge’s shoulders. He ought to be held accountable for what he is doing.”

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