LANCASTER (CBSLA) – Neighbors in an area near Lancaster are wondering why the state won’t keep convicted child rapist Lawtis Rhoden in prison and out of their small community.Family Of 18-Year-Old Garret Hayward, Killed By Suspected DUI Driver, Hold Emotional Vigil
That’s what the Megan’s Law website calls Rhoden, a sexually violent predator.
In 1969, Rhoden was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Florida. When he got out of prison, he reoffended in California, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting three more underaged girls in 1988.
In 2004, he was transferred to a state psychiatric hospital, but in 2019, the state said he was no longer likely to reoffend and should be placed in a home through Liberty Health, where he would be tracked with nonstop surveillance and an ankle monitor.
“There’s absolutely no reason to place him in the Antelope Valley,” State Assemblyman Tom Lackey said.READ MORE: In Wake Of Recent Crime Uptick, Beverly Hills Hires More Officers And Increases Patrols
Lackey joined law enforcement agencies and concerned neighbors in an Orange County courtroom Friday to tell the judge that Rhoden has no ties to this community and is not welcome.
This is not the first community to take a stand against Rhoden’s placement here. In San Bernardino County, officials said Liberty Health tried and failed three separate times to place him there.
“I would be extremely concerned for my wellbeing and safety if he was placed so close to my home,” Lancaster neighbor Autumn Petty said.
Neighbors argued that the remote area has unreliable phone and GPS reception, which would be problematic for tracking Rhoden.
Ultimately, the judge said she needed more time to consider the placement and didn’t want to rush her decision.MORE NEWS: Police Seeking Suspects In North Hollywood Shooting And Crash