LOS ANGELES - “They are giving a get out of jail free card," said an outraged Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. He’s angry over the recent court-ordered release of these seven inmates he calls “high risk” sex offenders.
They were let go on April 7 citing concerns over COVID-19.
“We do not want these people out on the streets because we all know registered sex offenders have the highest propensity to commit additional offenses,” Spitzer said.
And that appears to be exactly what happened. 40-year-old Kyle Winton was arrested two days ago on a parole violation. He’s now back behind bars.
“To have these people released without any look at their risk assessment is very scary,” said
Child Safety Advocate Erin Runnion.
She is no stranger to crime. In 2002, her 5-year-old daughter Samantha was kidnapped and murdered by an accused sex offender.
“In my own case, my daughter’s perpetrator had been acquitted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse and then a year later he kidnapped and murdered my daughter,” said Runnion.
A court-appointed commissioner ordered the inmates release to protect them from the coronavirus citing jail overcrowding. But a statement issued by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes disputed that saying that the jail has the needed space.
“I oppose efforts that excuse criminal behavior and jeopardize the safety of our community,” said Barnes.
Meanwhile, the district attorney is calling their release illegal. Erin Runnion who runs a foundation in honor of her daughter is calling on the courts to hold criminals accountable.
“If one of these people offended again how do we live with ourselves as a society that we let that happen,” said Runnion.
The DA says the men were required by law to spend at least 180 days in jail because of their repeat offenses or their failure to comply with probation.