On Thursday, the matter of placing Sexually Violent Predator Lawtis Donald Rhoden into the First District community of Newberry Springs will be heard in Orange County Superior Court.
I am deeply opposed to this relocation, and our County is fighting it every step of the way. Rhoden is an extremely dangerous child rapist and a threat to any community he lives in. His crimes include luring a 13-year-old into his Florida apartment and raping her three separate times. After serving 12 years in prison and 14 months in a state mental hospital, Rhoden was released — only to sexually assault three additional children in Orange and LA counties, and an additional child in Nashville, Tenn.
In 2013, an Orange County Jury found that “Rhoden has a diagnosed mental disorder and is likely to engage in sexually predatory offenses if released.” However, on October 25, 2019, Orange County Superior Court Judge Megan Wagner ordered Rhoden’s conditional release from the Department of State Hospitals in Coalinga to begin outpatient treatment and supervision.
Rhoden is currently under the supervision of Liberty Healthcare, which has proposed releasing this violent predator into a home located just a few blocks from a busy Newberry Springs restaurant and in close proximity to Newberry Mountain RV Park, a popular family campground on Route 66.
The good citizens of Newberry Springs don't deserve to have a menace such as Rhoden dumped on their community, which is already suffering from a slew of illegal cartel-run marijuana farms.
I strongly encourage all of our constituents to speak out on this matter, whether online or in person.
Victor Valley Transit Authority, with support from our County's elected officials, will be providing free transportation for Newberry Springs residents to the hearing. The bus will depart from the Newberry Springs Post Office (31411 Newberry Road) at 10:30 a.m., arriving in Fullerton by 1 p.m. Residents will depart Fullerton at 5 p.m., arriving back at the Newberry Springs Post Office at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in riding the bus, or speaking remotely at the hearing via WebEx, should contact Diana Trujillo, San Bernardino County District Attorney Victim Advocate, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (909) 723-4528 (cell) or (760) 255-5185 (office). The deadline to register for either transportation or the online comment is noon today.
The public hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2 in Orange County Superior Court, Department N13. The court is located at 1275 N Berkeley Ave, Fullerton.
Watch the court hearing live.