Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 12:25 am | Fair 46º


Public Pays Price Tag for Sexually Violent Predator

Sexually violent predator Tibor Karsai was conditionally released in northern Santa Barbara County on April 15 from Coalinga State Hospital, and has since been living in a motor home with all expenses paid by taxpayers.

Taxpayers are footing the bill for sexually violent predator Tibor Karsai's living expenses after he was released as a transient in northern Santa Barbara County.
Taxpayers are footing the bill for sexually violent predator Tibor Karsai’s living expenses after he was released as a transient in northern Santa Barbara County.

Karsai, 59, was released as a transient after the District Attorney’s Office fought it for more than a year.

He was convicted for forcible rape in Santa Barbara County in 1974, was paroled three years later to San Luis Obispo, and was convicted of forcible rape in Placer County six years later.

He was sentenced to 26 years but transferred to the state mental hospital later, where he was designated as a sexually violent predator and then applied for conditional release.

Karsai is only 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 Group.

While the District Attorney’s Office fought hard to keep Karsai from being released as a transient in this county, the office has no role in his supervision unless he commits a crime or violates his court conditions, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.

The state has a $3.2 million contract with Liberty Healthcare Group to monitor 10 sexually violent predators who have been released from state hospitals and track the court cases of anyone applying to be released or going through the court process of release, said Ralph Montano, a spokesman for the state Department of State Hospitals in Sacramento.

Liberty also searches for housing for the sexually violent predators who have been ordered released by a court.

Montano said he could not provide a specific cost for Karsai’s supervision, treatment and personal expenses.

Karsai is expected to be self-supporting for food, clothing and personal expenses, but the state provides funding as a loan until it can be repaid, Montano said.

All conditionally released sexually violent predators can apply for and receive general assistance through county programs as well, he noted.

“Generally speaking, individuals can receive permission to work after some period of time in the community where they have demonstrated adjustment to those supervising them,” Montano said. “Emphasis is put on treatment and community adjustment before permission to work is granted.”

The supervision is extensive, at least for now. Karsai has to register monthly instead of yearly with the Sheriff’s Department, which is the requirement for sex offenders who have a permanent address.

He is tracked by GPS and has to get all travel — where he’s going and what routes he’s taking — pre-approved by Liberty Healthcare.

Any variance from the pre-approved plan, or breaking rules regarding treatment, drug screening and surveillance, will result in going back into custody, Montano said.

KSBY approached Karsai soon after his release, when he was parked along Highway 1 in Guadalupe, and he told reporters he wanted to be left alone.

“Leave us alone. Allow me the opportunity to get back into society the best I can. Let me go back to pick up the pieces of my life,” he told KSBY.

The security guards are in place 24/7, but the security level is re-evaluated and can be reduced over time based on behavior, Montano said.

“Security can be eliminated if and when two conditions are met: the patient demonstrates he is appropriately adjusting to the community, and the risks are determined to be at a minimum,” he said.

The person still has GPS monitoring, is subject to searches and has to report to in-person meetings after that point, if he ever reaches it, he added.

Karsai’s particular rules come from a civil court order, and he’s not allowed to travel outside of the county.

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.

Kenneth Rasmuson was released in 2007 from Atascadero State Hospital. He was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in 1981 and abducted a 3-year-old boy in 1987.

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison and was granted parole after nine years of that sentence, after which he transferred to Atascadero State Hospital in 1996.

He was released to Santa Barbara County in 2007 and lived near Lompoc before he eventually moved to Washington state.

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.