Rapist set to be released from prison could move to San Luis Obispo County

clambert@thetribunenews.comFebruary 28, 2012 

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information provided by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office. Placer County District Attorney officials said they never agreed to Tibor Karsai's release, as noted in a news release distributed by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office. Instead, Placer County District Attorney officials have tried to keep Karsai committed to a state mental facility.

A convicted rapist could be moving to San Luis Obispo County if he is released on parole later this year.

The Auburn Journal newspaper reported that a Placer County judge ruled Monday that work could start toward temporarily housing Tibor Karsai in a mobile home next to a San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office facility.

However, local officials said Tuesday they have not received any indication that Karsai will move here. And officials from Placer County District Attorney's Office said they have tried to keep Karsai committed to a state mental facility. A gag order prevents anyone connected to the case to comment on Karsai's placement issues.

Karsai has been in state prison since he was convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl in Auburn 32 years ago, the Auburn newspaper reported.

Before that, he was convicted in Santa Barbara County of forcible rape in 1974 and paroled in March 1979 to San Luis Obispo County, where he lived in Morro Bay, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

In February 1980, while working as a truck driver, he made a haul to Placer County, where he attacked a girl in a bowling alley.

Karsai completed his prison time in 1998 and remained in custody as a sexually violent predator, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

In 2006, Karsai was released from custody through a conditional work program run by Liberty Healthcare. Placer County Superior Court Judge James Garbolino then told Liberty to place Karsai at his mother’s Santa Maria home.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office objected, arguing the location is too close to an elementary school and a community park, and that Karsai’s correct “domicile” is San Luis Obispo County.

In December, Garbolino reversed his ruling.

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Craig Van Rooyen said he argued last year in Placer County that Karsai has relatives in Santa Barbara County who could support him if he’s released.

According to the Auburn Journal, Liberty’s latest effort included a recommendation to have Karsai relocated in either Sacramento or Placer counties.

But Placer County Public Defender Ken Hahus’ objection led to Garbolino’s decision to attempt to place Karsai adjacent to the San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s facility.

Garbolino said that Liberty had reviewed 1,830 properties, including 230 since Karsai’s last hearing in December, “without any substantial success.”

According to the Auburn newspaper, Hahus said he didn’t know the exact location or which sheriff’s facility would hold a potential home for Karsai, but he said he wouldn’t be surprised if San Luis Obispo County raised objections to the use of the site.

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