Los Angeles’ top prosecutor is under fire for allowing a transgender woman who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl as a minor to face a no-jail wrist-slap sentence.
Hannah Tubbs, now 26, pleaded guilty to attacking the girl in a women’s bathroom at a Denny’s restaurant in 2014, two weeks before she turned 18, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LA District Attorney George Gascón filed charges against Tubbs in early 2020, not long after taking office.
But the progressive DA has refused to try juveniles as adults, citing studies that show adolescent brains aren’t fully developed until age 25 and claiming that young offenders can be rehabilitated in juvenile facilities.
At her sentencing later this month, Tubbs faces a short stint in a juvenile hall or probation, according to the LA Times, which reported that the Sheriff’s Department has offered to house her in an adult facility.
The potential punishment, however, has drawn backlash for being too lax.
“I would ask the public to reach out to Mr. Gascon and express their concerns and their outrage on a matter such as this involving a sexual predator,” said Lt. Richard Ruiz of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau, Fox LA reported.
Ruiz noted that Tubbs has also been arrested for battery, drug possession and probation violations in Idaho and Washington.
She was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Kern County and also had been accused of sexually assaulting a minor but was not prosecuted, the LA Times reported, citing Ruiz and court records.
Gascon now faces a second recall effort over his policies and reforms, which often ease potential sentences for murder suspects.
The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously earlier this month to support the effort.
“Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Lili Bosse stressed that without consequences for crime, we have Gotham City. Her sentiments were shared by others on the council as well,” said Karen Roseberry, a rep for the group Recall Gascon Now, Fox News reported.
LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told the LA Times in a statement: “It’s useless to catch criminals like [Tubbs] if we don’t follow through and seek justice for victims such as the 10-year-old girl [she] sexually assaulted.
“She bears the burden of a lifetime of trauma,” Barger added. “[She] will be offered therapeutic interventions under the auspices of ‘restorative justice’ … and possibly granted only probation or parole. Where is the justice for [her] young victim and her family?”
McKinney, the LA County deputy district attorney, said: “What is happening is our district attorney is ushering [her] right out the door, back onto the streets of this county and God knows where else [she] might roam.”
“It’s madness, it makes a mockery of our criminal justice system,” McKinney said.
When asked by Fox LA why the case wouldn’t be transferred to adult court, the LA County District Attorney’s office said in a statement: “The defendant entered an open plea to the court, leaving it up to the judge to decide what the sentence should be. Our office is seeking that [she] be placed in a custodial setting in a sheriff’s facility for two years.”
But McKinney slammed the statement, saying, “the DA is trying to distance himself from this result and lay blame on the judge when in fact, it’s only happened because of his policy against transferring juvenile cases to adult court.
“Two years is a pathetic outcome for man who is a career criminal with felony convictions in multiple states and who committed forcible sexual assault on a 10-year-old girl in a Denny’s bathroom,” he added.
Tubbs grabbed the young victim by her throat and put her hand down her pants inside a stall before being interrupted by someone who entered the bathroom at the restaurant, according to the LA Times.
“[She] fled from the restaurant, and [she] went unidentified for several years until a cold DNA hit identified [her] as someone who was arrested in the state of Idaho,” McKinney said, according to Fox LA.
Tubbs reportedly amassed an extensive rap sheet that included assaults with deadly weapons.
Gascon told the LA Times that the case was complicated by the amount of time that had elapsed between the attack and Tubbs’ arrest, her criminal record and the impact the crime had on the girl.
The victim, who has since moved away from California, is undergoing therapy and did not want to testify at the trial, he said.
The DA also expressed concern that Tubbs would be victimized if incarcerated in an adult facility as a trans woman and cited a probation report that actually recommended home confinement.
The newspaper also reviewed an e-mail that said Tubbs has been diagnosed with mental illnesses and might also qualify as “developmentally disabled.”
One of Tubbs’ lawyers declined to discuss the case, telling the outlet that state law barred them from doing so.
Manhattan’s new District Attorney Alvin Bragg has unveiled similar progressive policies to Gascon’s, including downgrading some felony charges to misdemeanors and no longer seeking prison sentences in certain cases.