SAN JOSE, Calif. — After a sniper’s bullet killed her husband in Afghanistan earlier this year, Misty Vivirito moved herself and four daughters from the Marine Corps base in Camp Pendelton to a home in Southern California’s Antelope Valley with room enough for horses and other farm animals.
Last month, she discovered that a serial rapist was to be released from a mental hospital and allowed to rent a ramshackle house 3 miles from her home in rural Los Angeles County near the city of Palmdale.
Yesterday, Vivirito tearfully urged Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown to change his mind and rescind his order directing the release of Christopher Evans Hubbart, 63, to the desert community of Lake Los Angeles.
Hubbart has acknowledged raping and assaulting about 40 women between 1971 and 1982. Authorities place the number of victims closer to 100. When Hubbart’s prison term ended in 1996, 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 to where? 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.
Hubbart’s most recent crimes occurred in Santa Clara County, but the northern California judge ordered him released to Los Angeles County, where Hubbart was born and raised.
Vivirito and several other Lake Los Angeles residents drove 350 miles through the night Tuesday to attend the court hearing in San Jose yesterday to oppose Hubbart’s release to their community.
“My husband died for our safety, but we don’t feel safe,” Vivirito told the judge. “This feels like a slap in our faces.”
Vivirito, her 16-year-old daughter and four other residents who attended the hearing are planning to return home late yesterday to an isolated community they say has become a “dumping ground” for sexually violent predators who have served their prison sentences and have been cleared by doctors at a state mental hospital for release.