LANCASTER – A small group of residents Thursday gathered outside the new Lancaster placement of Lawtis Donald Rhoden, a sexually violent predator with multiple child rape convictions dating back to 1969 and a history of reoffending.
“We don’t want you here! Leave!” a female protestor shouted into a bullhorn, as two other females set up chairs outside the property, located at 48040 25th Street East.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, State Sen. Scott Wilk, and Congressman Mike Garcia joined several local residents last month in speaking out against Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner’s decision to place Rhoden in the Antelope Valley under supervised release.
“Enough is enough,” Barger said last month. “This is becoming an issue of equity and we cannot allow the North County to be a recurrent location for violent criminals who have no nexus or connection to the area.”
Rhoden’s new address is approximately eight miles from the closest Sheriff’s station. The location is also a considerable distance from any support programs and essential care services, and the rural terrain has unreliable cell phone and GPS service, which would be problematic for the 24/7 monitoring that will be necessary to ensure community safety.
Rhoden, 72, was either convicted or pleaded guilty to multiple child rapes and other sexual assaults in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties and Nashville, Tennessee, beginning in 1969. He was committed to California’s Department of State Hospitals after spending nearly 20 years in state prison. The Orange County Superior Court found him suitable for supervised release in 2019, setting off a long process in which officials worked to find a location for him to reside amid opposition from residents and politicians. Judge Wagner ruled on Dec. 3, 2021 that Rhoden would be placed at the Lancaster home.
Rhoden is under the care of the state-funded company Liberty Healthcare. More information on Rhoden and his crimes can be found on the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s website at: https://da.lacounty.gov/sexually-violent-predators.
This is the second placement of a sexually violent predator in the Antelope Valley in the past several months, following the release of Calvin Grassmier who was recently placed in the Sun Village / Littlerock area.
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