2-year sentence for child molester may be too lenient: prosecutor

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Los Angeles’ top prosecutor acknowledged that a 2-year prison sentence for a transgender woman convicted of sexually assaulting a girl at a restaurant may not be long enough — as he faces calls for a recall election over his lenient policies.

District Attorney George Gascón said Sunday that he would have handled Hannah Tubbs’ case differently had he known about her “disregard for the harm” that she caused her 10-year-old victim.

“While for most people several years of jail time is adequate, it may not be for Ms. Tubbs,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

“After her sentencing in our case, I became aware of extremely troubling statements she made about her case, the resolution of it and the young girl that she harmed,” he added.

Tubbs, 26, who pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old girl when she was 17, was sentenced last month to two years in a juvenile facility after Gascón failed to file a motion to move the case into adult court.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference, December 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said that he would have handled Hannah Tubbs’ case differently.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The decision caught the ire of Los Angeles County Supevisor Kathryn Barger, who said the judge’s “hands were tied” in the case due to Gascón’s inaction.

Critics also blasted Gascón’s policies at the time that prevented prosecutors from seeking life sentences and filing cases against juvenile offenders in adult court.

Gascón, who took office in late 2020, announced revisions late Friday to those policies.

Hannah Tubbs
Hannah Tubbs pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old girl when she was 17.
KTTV FOX 11
Hannah Tubbs
Hannah Tubbs sexually assaulted a girl at a restaurant.
KTTV FOX 11

A new committee will now review motions filed by prosecutors requesting to transfer cases involving murder and other serious crimes from juvenile to adult court.

Prosecutors can also seek a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole “where it is deemed such filings are appropriate,” according to the new policy reviewed by The Post.

“This process ensures that only in the rarest of cases, where our system has failed, will we diverge from our principles,” Gascón said Sunday. “We do not always get it right, as no one can, but we do believe that our fundamental beliefs are the right ones.”

Gascón filed charges against Tubbs in early 2020, not long after taking office. The transgender woman’s victim said during a hearing in December she still lives in fear many years after the attack.

Maceo Lewis LA County Council attorney for Hannah Tubbs at the Hannah Tubbs hearing in Antelope Valley  Juvenile Court, California.
Maceo Lewis, attorney for Hannah Tubbs, at the hearing.
David Buchan/New York Post David
Judge Mario Barrera at the Hannah Tubbs hearing
Judge Mario Barrera said several times at the hearing he was limited to sentencing Hannah Tubbs to two years.
David Buchan/New York Post David

“I feel that I’m to blame somehow, when I know deep down that isn’t the case,” the victim said in a statement. “I chose not to come into court because I couldn’t stand the thought of having to see my attackers’ face again.”

A judge ruled Tubbs be housed in a youth treatment center, despite a prosecutor’s efforts to keep her locked up in a Los Angeles County jail.

“You have a violent sexual predator sentenced to two years in a juvenile facility,” said Deputy District Attorney Shea Sanna after last month’s hearing. “It doesn’t change the fact that the public is safer, but we just preferred Tubbs to be with other adults and not prey on others.”

Deputy District Attorney Shea Sanna at the Hannah Tubbs hearing in Antelope Valley  Juvenile Court, California.
Deputy District Attorney Shea Sanna at the Hannah Tubbs hearing in California.
David Buchan/New York Post David
Prosecution lawyer Elizabeth Braunstein at the Hannah Tubbs hearing
Prosecution lawyer Elizabeth Braunstein at the Hannah Tubbs hearing.
David Buchan/New York Post David

Judge Mario Barrera said several times at the hearing he was limited to sentencing Tubbs to two years due to Gascón’s office not filing a request to send her case to adult court.

Gascón has told the newspaper Tubbs’ case was complicated by the time between the attack and her identification, as well as the impact on her victim.

A committee seeking to recall Gascón from office, meanwhile, has already raised $1.8 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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