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Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) is calling on citizens to stand up for our community during a November 5th court hearing regarding the potential placement of convicted sexually violent predator, Lawtis Donald Rhoden, in the Antelope Valley.
“Give us a break. The Antelope Valley is not the state’s dumping ground for convicted sex offenders yet the Administration is considering placement of yet another one into our community. Last month it was Calvin Grassmier and now it is Lawtis Rhoden. When is enough is enough?” asked Senator Wilk. “Like many areas of California, this is a family community and like many other family communities, we do not want our neighborhoods overrun with sexually violent predators.
“No community wants to roll out the welcome mat for sex offenders, but it is fundamentally unfair to expect the AV to do bear the brunt of the state’s problem. Keep them in prison if you can’t find a community that wants them in close proximity to its families, women and children,” said Senator Wilk.
Lawtis Donald Rhoden was convicted of rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery in California, Florida, and Tennessee. He served time in prison and then transferred to the California Department of State Hospitals. For the California crimes, Rhoden was tried in both Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Orange County courts cite the existence of “extraordinary circumstances” that prevent his placement in Orange County, but believe the city of Lancaster, represented by Senator Wilk, is an option.
Wilk is urging citizens to voice their opinion during the November 5th Court hearing where concerned citizens can attend in person or participate remotely. Link here for more information on the November court hearing.
Senate Bill 1199 expanded the protections against releasing sexually violent predators into random communities to include, when reasonably possible, taking family and community ties into consideration, as well as the availability of reentry services when determining where inmates convicted of registrable sex offenses are placed. This law applies except in cases where such placement would violate any other law or pose a risk to the victim. Rural, less populated communities like the Antelope and Victor Valleys, should not be collateral damage when convicted sex offenders go from prison to parole. The influx of violent criminals into rural towns and cities poses an unacceptable risk to the residents. Assemblymember Tom Lackey co-authored SB 1199.