Crime & Justice

Los Angeles County to fight release of serial rapist Christopher Evans Hubbart

A woman stands in the doorway of a courtroom at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
A woman stands in the doorway of a courtroom at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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Update, 6:00 p.m. The Department of State Hospitals said 91 "sexually violent predators" have been released from state hospitals through the courts since 2006, 23 of them to conditional release. Of those on conditional release, 7 subsequently completed the program and were released, 6 were revoked back to state hospitals, and 1 died. At the moment, there are 547 sexually violent predators in state hospitals in California and another 343 in hospitals who have been identified as SVP's but have not been through full commitment proceedings. 

Previously: Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Irene Wakabayashi said Tuesday her office will challenge the conditional release of a Pasadena man who's admitted raping at least 40 women in California, including 25 in Los Angeles.

Christopher Evans Hubbart, the first offender committed under California's Sexually Violent Predator law, is scheduled to return to Los Angeles County in November, under the state's conditional release program. In May, a judge in Santa Clara granted Hubbart's release.

On Tuesday, officials with the Los Angeles DA's office said a deputy district attorney boarded a plane to San Jose, bound for the Sixth District of the California Court of Appeals to file a challenge to the release. 

Speaking at a Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Mike Antonovich thanked the DA's office for its action.

"He's a very dangerous person who should be behind bars, not in our neighborhoods," Antonovich said. "Maybe the judge should take him if he wants him out so badly and let him live in Santa Clara, in his neighborhood."

Hubbart was first arrested on rape charges in 1972 in Los Angeles, and after serving time at Atascadero State Hospital – then the site of California's sexual offender program – he was released in 1979. Three years later, in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was convicted of burglary, false arrest and rape and sent to prison for 16 years.

Shortly after that incarceration, Hubbart's parole was revoked after he followed multiple women off buses and tried to grab them, unsuccessfully. After returning to the community, Hubbart's parole was again revoked so he could be put in psychological treatment.

In January 1996, California's Sexually Violent Predator law took effect. Hubbart became the first person committed under the statute. He's remained in state institutions ever since under a series of two-year renewals under the SVP law.

Hubbart has continually fought his commitment, at one point raising a constitutional challenge to the Sexually Violent Predator law. In 2004, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law and Hubbart's commitment. 

If his release goes forward, Hubbart will enter the fifth and potentially final stage of the state's SVP program, meaning he'd be subject to monitoring and supervision – which could include drug testing, GPS tracking, and polygraph tests – while undergoing out-patient relapse prevention treatment. The first four phases of the program take place at Coalinga State Hospital. A private entity, Liberty Healthcare Corporation, administers the outpatient portion of the program and finds the individual housing. 

According to a 2006 state report on sexually violent predators, finding landlords is a major problem. 

"A 'Not In My Backyard' syndrome prevails, resulting in universal opposition to the proposed placement location," the report said. At that time, 7 out of 665 had been released to the community. Of that group, two had their release revoked and were returned to the state hospital and one fully completed the program. 

More current numbers were not immediately available.