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Wednesday, November 21 , 2018, 4:15 am | Fair 46º


‘Sexually Violent Predator’ Released as Transient in Santa Barbara County

Tibor Karsai, a repeat rapist who has been designated a “sexually violent predator,” was released Monday from Coalinga State Hospital as a transient in Santa Barbara County.

Tibor Karsai
Tibor Karsai

He registered with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department as a “transient” sex offender Monday afternoon, department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. He was transported to the Sheriff’s Office Santa Maria Substation and a registration photo was taken, which is now being provided to the public.

She said Karsai will be living in a motor home in “several remote locations” in northern Santa Barbara County with a global positioning system tracking device attached. He’ll be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by guards with Liberty Healthcare Group, a private company that contracts with the state Department of Mental Health.

As a transient, he has to register monthly with the Sheriff’s Office instead of yearly for sex offenders who have a permanent address, Hoover noted. His movements can be tracked on the Megan’s Law website as well, though the Department of Justice may take a few weeks to update his status and add the photograph to his information there.

Karsai, 59, was convicted of forcibly raping a 19-year-old woman in Santa Barbara in 1974 and was paroled three years later to San Luis Obispo. He was then convicted six years later of forcible rape in Auburn, Placer County, and sentenced to 26 years in state prison. Karsai was later transferred to a state mental hospital and designated as a sexually violent predator.

In 1985, Karsai and another inmate escaped from Donovan Vocational Institution in San Diego and were arrested shortly after, and returned to prison for an additional seven-year term, Hoover said.

After a long legal battle between Placer County and Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, which twice went all the way to the state Supreme Court, it was decided that Karsai was to be released in Santa Barbara County as a transient on or before April 18.

This arrangement with a motor home and guards will continue “indefinitely,” Hoover said. “It is a civil court order between the Department of Mental Health and Tibor Karsai. He is not permitted to travel outside of Santa Barbara County.”

In the past, those released as transients have their housing, supervision and treatment expenses paid by the state until they can become self-supporting, a Department of State Hospitals representative has told Noozhawk.

Karsai has family in Santa Maria, but a home there was reportedly deemed inappropriate because it was within 2,000 feet of a school.

He will have at least weekly contact by supervision staff, specialized sex-offender treatment, weekly drug screening, surveillance, polygraph examinations and active GPS tracking.

The Santa Barbara victim’s mother told Noozhawk earlier this year that the news of Karsai’s possible release was “like being shot in the heart.”

Her daughter, a Dos Pueblos High School graduate and carefree person, started to fall apart mentally after the rape, she said.

In September 1985, her daughter was camping at Haskell’s Beach and “went out into the water in just her underwear at night, and just let herself drown.”

“I wish to speak about my daughter as she is not alive to speak for herself,” Linda wrote in a poignant letter she sent to District Attorney Joyce Dudley. “She received a death sentence as a result of (Karsai’s) behavior.”

There are only two previous cases of sexually violent predators being released as transients — one in Santa Barbara County in November 2007 and one in Ventura County.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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