• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Antelope Valley residents protest molester

February 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge blocks a convicted sex offender from moving into a Southern California neighborhood.The man says he has not been able to find a place to live in Santa Barbara County and wanted to move to the Antelope Valley. Community members there protested.

Wednesday, a judge denied his request to move.

Dozens of protesters showed up at Superior Courts Wednesday morning from the Antelope Valley. They say they showed up for one reason: to protect their community from a sexual predator.

Authorities describe 46-year-old Kenneth Rasmuson as a violent sexual predator convicted twice of child molestation. In November, an appeals court overturned a lower court decision to keep him locked up in a state mental hospital. After his release, he was sent to live in Santa Barbara County. Residents there protested, leading Rasmuson to beg the courts to move him to the Antelope Valley, citing extraordinary circumstances.

A busload of Antelope Valley residents and officials showed up at the Superior Courts Building in downtown L.A. Wednesday morning to beg the judge hearing the request to deny it. The judge did just that.

"I thought the district attorney in this case did a remarkable job in pointing out that it is not an extraordinary circumstance for a sexual predator not to have a place to live, because nobody wants them living next door to them," said attorney Rex Perris. "And the law has made it very hard for them to live anywhere."

"I have five children and this is what it's about, this is what I came for, to protect my children and the children of the Antelope Valley," said concerned resident Wendy Swann.

"I'm very much encouraged by the fact that, statutorily, this decision was defended and that this person is not being placed in a 'community of convenience,'" said Antelope Valley resident Tom Lackey

According to Lancaster and Palmdale Sheriff's officials, there are roughly 700 registered sex offenders in the Antelope Valley. Officials say that's enough -- no more.

"For these types of individuals to try to come in through the back door to our valley, it's not going to be tolerated," said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.

"But our community, you can feel safe, because we're not going to leave. We're going to stay right with it until it's dead," said Lancaster Mayor Henry Hearns.

Antelope Valley officials say they don't have any hard numbers on how they stack up against other communities throughout the Southland, but they say for far too long, the Antelope Valley has been a dumping ground for paroled sexual predators and that must end, and it will end, they say.

 

Click here for more headlines from ABC7 Eyewitness News


Load Comments