Convicted rapist Tibor Karsai will stay under 24-hour supervision for the next year, traveling throughout Santa Barbara County in a motor home since he was released from from a mental hospital as a transient.
A Placer County judge released Karsai from prison last year despite the protestations of Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
He’s been under 24-hour guard by state contractor Liberty Healthcare for the last year, and on Wednesday, the court decided to keep him under guard for an additional year, Dudley said.
The case will get reviewed annually to see if the supervision terms need to be changed.
Karsai is a sexually violent predator convicted of the forcible rape of a 19-year-old woman in Santa Barbara County in 1974. He was paroled three years later, and then was convicted of forcible rape of a 16-year-old girl in Placer County in 1982.
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.
He was transferred to a state mental hospital after completing a 26-years prison sentence, and applied for conditional release.
He’s the third sexually violent predator to be released as a transient with no fixed address, which means he lives in a motor home, wears a GPS tracking device, and is monitored 24/7 by guards with Liberty Healthcare – all paid for by the taxpayers.
Liberty Healthcare has a $3.2 million contract with the state to monitor 10 sexually violent predators who have been released from state hospitals but a spokesman couldn’t give the cost for Karsai’s supervision, treatment and personal expenses.
He’s expected to pay for his own food, clothing and personal expenses, but the state gives funding as a loan until it can be repaid. He’s also eligible for general assistance programs through the county.
When his release was announced, the Santa Barbara victim’s mother told Noozhawk the news was “like being shot in the heart.” Her daughter fell apart mentally after the rape and eventually committed suicide, her mother said.
An Orcutt resident read about Karsai’s release and recognized him as her attacker from almost 40 years ago.
Karsai was the older brother of a childhood friend, and reading about the other victims – and his release – made her contact Dudley’s office last year.
The statute of limitations prevents prosecutors from taking action against Karsai, which Dudley said is heartbreaking.
The District Attorney’s fight to keep Karsai from being released went to the state Supreme Court twice, and the office worked with the Placer County District Attorney to keep Karsai under nonstop supervision for another year.
His release terms will be evaluated again in 12 months.
“Protecting the community, victims, and their families is an ongoing duty that our office takes very seriously,” Dudley said Wednesday. “My office will continue to seek the most stringent terms to ensure that our community is safe from sexually violent predators.”
Deputy district attorney Michael Carrozzo went to the hearing in person and said the county got what it wanted: to keep all the current conditions of release in place like 24-hour monitoring, a GPS tracker, urine analysis, search and seizure, and polygraph examinations.
The conditional release gets reviewed every year and over time, the conditions could be reduced. For now, both Santa Barbara and Placer County want – and got – the maximum monitoring and strict conditions.
Liberty Healthcare’s report of the last year shows Karsai had “some issues” that Carrozzo couldn’t discuss.
“They noticed some issues that were not significant but the conclusion was they recommended at the present time, he still has treatment issues that need to be resolved and they felt that he was still a danger to the community if he was not supervised,” he said. “We agree with that, Placer County too, and the judge agreed with us.”
Karsai was released last year because a court ruled that psychological reports showed he was warranted release from the prison-like lockdown facility. The state uses this conditional release system to see how people fare with supervision and treatment.
“Our position is that he should have remained in the lockdown facility, we believe he should have stayed incarcerated but a judge ruled against that over a year and a half ago,” Carrozzo said.