Full Coverage

 Sexually violent predator to be released into Santa Barbara County
Story Photo

1 year ago

Sexually violent predator to be released into Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office released a statement today saying the California Supreme Court denied their second Petition for Review, therefore allowing the release of Tibor Karsai, 59, into Santa Barbara County as a "transient."

A press release states: "The District Attorney's Office has now done everything it could to prevent Karsai's release." The release continued by saying the goal all along has been to protect the Santa Barbara community and try to prevent Karsai from re-offending.

Karsai is expected to be released in approximately two weeks. Liberty Healthcare Corporation, a contractor designated by the California Department of Mental Health's Conditional Release Program, will be responsible for monitoring Karsai.

Karsai was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in northern California in 1980. He served 30 years in prison, and is currently in a mental hospital in Placer County.

The Santa Barbara Co. D.A.'s Office says they appealed the order to the 3rd District Court of Appeals once, and twice to the California Supreme Court.

"Do not release him as a transient," said Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County District Attorney. "Release him to a place where he can get services in a home anywhere in California, including Santa Barbara County. We weren't saying he shouldn't be released in Santa Barbara County, we were saying he needs to be released where he can get the services he needs in order not to reoffend."

Story Photo

1 year ago

DA takes fight over release of Tibor Karsai to California high court

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Friday her office has petitioned the California Supreme Court in the latest attempt to block the release of a sexually-violent predator into the county.

The district attorney's office is petitioning the state's high court to overturn the recent appellate court ruling stating that convicted rapist Tibor Karsai should be released as a transient in Santa Barbara County. Dudley is also requesting that Karsai stay in custody until the Supreme Court has made its decision.

1 year ago

District attorney taking Tibor Karsai petition to California Supreme Court after denial

A Sacramento court of appeal on Thursday denied Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley's petition to prevent the release of a sexually-violent predator into the county.

According to Dudley, the Court of Appeal for the Third District denied the Writ of Mandate, concluding in its 21-page opinion that "There is nothing in the SVPA (Sexually Violent Predator Act) that precludes a court from ordering the conditional release of a person committed as an SVP (Sexually Violent Predator) even though no fixed residence has been located for the person before his release."

Dudley said in a news release that her office will now file a second petition for review to the California Supreme Court in a final attempt to keep convicted rapist Tibor Karsai from being released as a transient into Santa Barbara County. Dudley will also once again file a stay in an attempt to stop Karsai's release while the issue is pending before the state Supreme Court.

Story Photo

2 years ago

Sexually violent predator will not be released in Santa Barbara Co.

The Court of Appeal in Sacramento has granted a request by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney to stay the pending release of a sexually violent predator into the county.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Wednesday that on March 27, a Superior Court judge in Placer County made the decision to release Tibor Karsai into Santa Barbara County as a transient on April 16. Dudley challenged the decision with the Third District Court of Appeal. Dudley argued it is necessary to keep Karsai out of Santa Barbara County to protect the residents. On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal granted the stay, which means Karsai will not be released on April 16.

Karsai was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in Northern California in 1980. He served 30 years in prison, and is now in a mental hospital in Placer County.

Karsai was also once on the potential housing list for San Luis Obispo County because he once lived in Morro Bay. He was taken off the list in March, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.

Back in December, a Placer County judge ruled Karsai would be conditionally released into Santa Maria to live with family members, but a judge ruled against it. The Court of Appeal will now consider the merits of the case, before it makes a final decision about when and where Karsai will ultimately be released.

Story Photo

2 years ago

SLO County taken off potential placement list for sexually violent predator

A sexually violent predator named Tibor Karsai will not be moving to San Luis Obispo County, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

A Placer County Superior Court Judge notified the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office Friday that San Luis Obispo County has been removed as an option for placement of Karsai.

Karsai, 59, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in northern California in 1980. He served 30 years in prison, and is currently in a mental hospital in Placer County. San Luis Obispo County was on the list for potential housing for Karsai, because he once lived in Morro Bay.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson objected the potential placement of Karsai in a mobile home at the Sheriff's Office main facility, or anywhere else in the county. Sheriff Parkinson said the mobile home site was located too close to the Juvenile Services Center.

The Placer County judge is continuing to review other placement options for Karsai.

Story Photo

2 years ago

Sexually violent predator could be paroled to SLO County

A sexually violent predator could be calling San Luis Obispo County home.

Tibor Karsai, 58, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl back in 1980. He's been in prison and a mental hospital in Placer County where the crime was committed, but now that he's served his time, he is going to be let out.

A Placer County judge first ruled he would live with his mother in Santa Maria. But after loud protest from locals, the city passed emergency action late last year to prevent the move.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department tells us it has been notified that the county is on the list for potential housing for him because Karsai once lived in Morro Bay, however no final decision has been made.

Tonight on KSBY News at 6p, Ariel Wesler shows us where Karsai could live if he was allowed to move here.

2 years ago

Sexually violent predator will not reside in Santa Maria

A Placer County judge has ordered Liberty Healthcare to find someplace other than Santa Barbara County to house a sexually violent predator.

58-year-old Tibor Karsai was convicted of rape and false imprisonment and served 26 years in prison. He also spent time in a mental hospital. Both the city attorney and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney have been fighting a judge's decision to allow the sexually violent predator to relocate in Santa Maria.

Representatives from both offices were at Monday's hearing in Placer County to push for an alternate location for Karsai.

The judge said the original plan to have him live with his family in Santa Maria is no longer an option. There was a dispute last month about how to interpret Jessica's law, which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2000 feet from a park or school.

The judge measured it as "travel distance" while the city measured it "as the crow flies."

So, to clear up any confusion, the city passed an emergency ordinance clarifying the new law, hoping it would force the judge to change his decision.

"It's significant in the sense that the court is now extending the search. That means he can be placed in any county in California," said Santa Barbara County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Foley.

While the judge did go as far as saying Karsai will not end up in Santa Barbara County, the DA's office says Liberty Healthcare, the company in charge of monitoring him, had exhausted all possibilities in the county.

The DA's office says the judge also issued a gag order today preventing any public comments about where Karsai could end up living.

2 years ago

City leaders pass local law to try and keep out sexually violent predator

Leaders in Santa Maria have passed a local law, taking emergency action as they try to stop a sexually-violent predator from moving into their city.

Both the city attorney and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney are fighting a Placer County judge's decision to allow 58-year-old Tibor Karsai to live in Santa Maria.

Karsai was sentenced to 26 years in prison for rape and false imprisonment in 1980 in Placer County.

He has been in state prisons and a mental hospital since 1980, but is supposed to get out of a mental hospital in Coalinga in December and be allowed to move back with family in Santa Maria.

"Fear will kill somebody."

With tears in her eyes Cassandra Sigala pleaded with city leaders to do all they can to keep 58-year-old Tibor Karsai, a sexually violent predator, out of Santa Maria.

"I will do whatever it takes to not let that violent person come to this town. Whatever it takes, I will do it. I just know what it's like," Sigala said.

Cassandra says she was molested by her uncle as a young child and he's being released from custody on Monday. Cassandra's mom says her daughter wasn't the only victim.

"He's violated three children in our family in the course of over 20 years," said Sandra Sigala.

The new city law means no new sex offenders in Santa Maria could live within a 2000 foot radius of a park or school. In this case, it's Liberty Elementary.

"This would adversely affect the safety of children and the perceived safety of children," said Liberty Elementary School Principal Dr. Jamie LeBlanc.

The local law takes effect immediately, but it's only the first stp in putting pressure on the Placer County judge to change his decision.

"There are already discussions about a letter writing campaign, petitions, sending out mass emails to the judge, whatever it is we can do," said Terri Zuniga, who lives in Santa Maria.

"This is our community. This is my community and I do not want this person coming to my community," Sandra Sigala said.

According to city attorney Gil Trujillo, the judge believes Karsai no longer poses a threat. A tough thing for Cassandra and her family to believe.

"Just knowing someone that dangerous lives here, we're gonna be in fear," she said.


City leaders talked about possibly going further with the 2000 foot rule, having it apply to daycare and community centers. Councilmembers urge you to call city hall for the address of where you can send petition letters.

Both city and county officials plan to travel to Placer County in person to plead their case. The judge is expected to make his final decision on December 5th.

Story Photo

2 years ago

City Leaders move one step closer to keeping sexually violent predator away

Santa Maria City Leaders are one step closer to keeping a sexually violent predator out of their city.

Council voted Tuesday night unanimously to clarify Jessica's Law in the city. Under the law, a sex offender cannot live within two thousand feet of a park or school. A judge interpreted that law as travel distance, but the city council said that's "irrational and contrary to law". City leaders agreed it should be as the crow flies.

On Tuesday night, the Santa Maria City Council voted to clarify the law in city code, making it a 2,000 foot straight line.

The timing of this is due to a 58-year-old sexually violent predator who may live in Santa Maria starting next month. Both the city attorney and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney are fighting the decision to allow Tibor Karsai, 58, into the city. Karsai has been in state prisons and a mental hospital since 1980.

If Karsai is released into the city, police say those living in the immediate area will be notified and officers will hold a community meeting. The city is also against Karsai moving to Santa Maria, because before he committed the crime in Placer County, he lived in Morro Bay. City leaders argue he should be returned to San Luis Obispo County.

The judge is expected to make his final decision on December 5.

2 years ago

City council discusses sexually violent predator

A sexually violent predator could be released next month to live in the Santa Maria community. Both the City Attorney and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney are fighting that decision to allow 58-year-old Tibor Karsai to live in Santa Maria. He has been in state prisons and a mental hospital since 1980.

The Santa Maria City Council will consider an emergency resolution Tuesday night to keep Karsai out of town. KSBY News Reporter Ariel Wesler will have a live report outside city hall where the meeting is taking place. Watch the full story on KSBY News at 5 and 6 p.m.

2 years ago

Sexually violent predator could be released in Santa Maria

A sexually violent predator could be released next month into the Santa Maria community. Both the city attorney and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney are fighting the decision of a superior court judge in placer county. That's northeast of Sacramento.

58-year-old Tibor Karsai was sentenced to 26 years in prison for rape and false imprisonment back in 1980.

Officers would not release an exact location, but we know if Karsai was released into the city, it would be in an area near Liberty Elementary School. That's also in the same area where his family lives, but they declined to comment.

"There are a lot of kids in the neighborhood. They catch the bus right around the corner," said Toni Honn, who lives in Santa Maria.

Neighbors living in the Pacific Crest Community don't want a sexually violent predator living anywhere near them. Honn didn't hold back about how she would handle a dangerous situation.

"As far as defending myself, I don't think I would have an issue and I would not hesitate to shoot him," Honn said.

Neighbors say detective were in the area within the past few months trying to learn more about the demographics of the neighborhood.

"There's a daycare here right next to me. I'm a stay at home mom. My neighbor is a stay at home mom," said Amber Dworacek.

Jessica's Law prohibits any sex offender from being released within 2000 feet of a park or a school, but what's being disputed here is how you measure that 2000 feet.

It's easy to explain using Google Maps. The Placer County Judge interprets the rule as travel distance, but the city sees it as a 2000 foot radius, a straight line from one property to another, which would put Tibor Karsai within the 2000 foot restriction.

"We believe that the intent of Jessica's Law was to create a predator free zone with a 2000 foot boundary around each school and park," said Santa Maria City Attorney Gil Trujillo.

Now, the city council is working quickly to pass an emergency resolution to clarify the law.

"The judge will have to consider Santa Maria's municipal code in reach his final determination," Trujillo said.

The city says Liberty Healthcare would be in charge of Karsai's intense 24-7 supervision.

In the meantime, Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni told us "Everyone needs to calm down and let the legal system prevail. We cannot allow vigilante justice."

If Karsai is released into the city, police say those living in the immediate area will be notified and officers will hold a community meeting.

The judge has scheduled another hearing for December 5th. That's when he's expected to make his final decision. If you'd like to track any sex offenders living in your area, click here.

  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail

»Comments

PLEASE HELP US MODERATE COMMENTS

Offensive or inappropriate comments are subject to removal. To report a comment, please e-mail us at feedback@ksby.com, and include the name of the story and information on the comment.

Thank you! KSBY.com


Comments

Most Popular

Top Videos

1 2 3 4