The sex offenders were let out this month by Court Commissioner Joseph Dane despite being charged with tampering with their GPS monitoring devices, the D.A.'s office said in a news release.
"These kinds of high-risk sex offenders are the most dangerous kind of criminal and the most likely to re-offend," District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. "They are doing everything they can to avoid detection by the parole officers assigned to monitor them so they can potentially commit additional sex offenses. These are not the kind of people who should be getting a break.
Few of 3,500 California state prisoners released early were tested for COVID-19
Spitzer accuses Dane of misusing pandemic emergency orders.
"This court commissioner is continuing to use his ability to cite the pandemic as a reason not to impose the mandatory 180 days," Spitzer said.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes contended that there was no reason for the early release because jails aren't currently overcrowded, adding that there are measures in place to allow for physical distancing and quarantining of inmates. Barnes reports his jail population is down by 45% since March 7.
"These inmates were released by court order, and are not in any way connected to the measures I have taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the Orange County Jail," Barnes said in a Wednesday statement. "We have responsibly created the capacity needed in the jail to house sex offenders and other dangerous criminals. I oppose efforts that excuse criminal behavior and jeopardize the safety of our community."
A spokesperson with the Orange County Superior Court says the court is bound by ethical rules and can't discuss any cases currently before the bench.
Meanwhile sexual abuse advocates with Waymakers encouraged survivors to contact the 24-hour hotline at (714) 957-2737.
The seven sex offenders, who were released between April 7 and April 22, were identified in the community warning issued by the D.A.'s office as:
Please see below for my statement clarifying information that was reported inaccurately. pic.twitter.com/spuD5N3ixg— OC Sheriff Don Barnes (@OCSheriffBarnes) April 29, 2020