LOS ANGELES >> A notorious California serial rapist who muffled victims’ screams with a pillowcase had his freedom revoked today and was ordered returned to a state mental hospital for violating terms of his release, prosecutors said.
Christopher Hubbart, who was dubbed the “Pillowcase Rapist” for sexually assaulting dozens of women between 1971 and 1982, was recommitted to Coalinga State Hospital for at least a year.
Hubbart, 65, had violated several terms of his conditional release, including failing five polygraph tests, when he was arrested in August, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
“Christopher Hubbart is a prolific serial rapist and even after years of treatment he remains a danger to women,” Lacey said. “Today’s ruling reaffirms our belief that he should remain in a state hospital for additional treatment.”
Hubbart, who has acknowledged raping at least 40 women, has been in and out of prisons and state psychiatric hospitals since his first rape conviction in 1972.
His lockup follows years of uproar and legal wrangling over a judge’s order in 2013 to release him from the state psychiatric hospital where he had been civilly committed in 2000 as a sexually dangerous person after serving his prison sentence.
The Santa Clara County judge ruled at the time that Hubbart had completed treatment and was fit to live outside under strict conditions.
Although his last crimes had been committed in Northern California, the judge ordered him — over the objection of Lacey — to live in Los Angeles County because that’s where he was born and raised.
It took more than a year to find a suitable location where a landlord was willing to rent to him.
Protests followed his July 2014 arrival at a small house in Lake Los Angeles, an unincorporated area in the high desert of the Antelope Valley, about 40 miles north of downtown.
A group calling itself the Ladies of Lake LA regularly demonstrated outside the house, shouting he should be locked up, carrying signs saying “burn in hell” and even burning effigies of him.
He was under 24-hour guard — both to protect the public and to keep him safe.
Lacey tried unsuccessfully to have him recommitted in 2015 after he let the batteries run low on his GPS ankle monitor.
Santa Clara County Judge Richard Loftus had found at the time that he was not “a danger to the health and safety of others” and allowed him to remain free, though there were strict limitations on what he could do.
Hubbart was subject to 16 pages of conditions that included ongoing treatment, a curfew, random searches and seizures, drug testing and polygraphs. He needed permission to use the internet or watch television shows that might arouse him.
Protesters had welcomed his arrest in August. Cheryl Holbrook, who said she was raped as a teen, though not a Hubbart victim, had shed tears of relief at the news he was in custody.
Holbrook was glad Loftus committed him today to spend more time in the mental hospital, but she was frustrated it wasn’t longer.
“He needs to rot in there and never come out,” Holbrook said. “He failed his polygraph. That was a 90 percent clue right there that if he was to get out again, he’s going to reoffend. I don’t care how old he is.”