LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge decided not to send a serial rapist back to a psychiatric hospital, outraging the California community where he has lived since his release last year and where some fear he will attack again.
Santa Clara County Judge Richard Loftus ruled Monday that Christopher Hubbart, known as the “pillowcase rapist,” is not a danger to the health and safety of others, though prosecutors said he violated the terms of his July release when he twice allowed the power in his ankle monitor to run low.
Loftus wrote that there have been no battery problems since and no other evidence of supervision breaches.
Hubbart has been in and out of prison and psychiatric hospitals since he was first convicted of rape in 1972. He acknowledged raping about 40 women through 1982, using a pillowcase to muffle their screams.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office will “continue to make recommendations and monitor Hubbart through the community safety team,” said spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales on Tuesday.
Residents of Antelope Valley, the community outside Los Angeles where Hubbart lives, disagreed with the judge and said they were afraid he would rape again.
“This is scary news, really scary. Terrifying,” said Cheryl Holbrook, a member of the Ladies of Lake LA, a group created to fight the release of Hubbard. “I’ve got the chills.”
Demonstrations have been held in front of Hubbart’s home for months, and some people have torched effigies and held signs telling him to “burn in hell,” she said. One person tried to run him off the road and another pulled a toy gun on one of his guards, Holbrook said.
Hubbart’s attorney, public defender Christopher Yuen, said Hubbart was continuing his outpatient treatment but had no further comment.
A jury declared Hubbart a sexually violent predator in 2000, and he was committed to a state-run psychiatric hospital, even though he had served his prison term.
In 2013, doctors declared that Hubbart had completed his treatment and was fit to live in the community. A judge ordered Hubbart to live in Southern California near the place where he was raised.
A contrite and polite Hubbart told the judge in April that keeping the ankle monitor fully powered was his responsibility. Prosecutors say it is a condition of his release.
Tim Fletcher, a retired police officer in charge of Hubbart’s security, said the two violations were the only blemishes on Hubbart’s record since his release.
Republican state Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale called Hubbart “uniquely dangerous and very calculating.”
“Santa Clara Judge Richard Loftus failed to prevent serial rapist Christopher Hubbart from creating any more victims and calming the fears of Southern Californians,” Lackey said in a statement. “We must continue to speak out for true justice and end Hubbart’s unfair release into the Antelope Valley.”
Rodriguez reported from San Francisco.