A second hearing was held in Orange County Thursday afternoon about whether Lawtis Rhoden, a sexually violent predator, should be located to Twentynine Palms, a city where he has no ties at all. Reporter Cassidy Taylor has the details from the hearing…
The hearing on considering the placement of sexually violent predator Lawtis Rhoden into Twentynine Palms continued with additional testimony opposing his placement, arguing that the property was not suitable due to its proximity to children and child congregation areas. After additional testimony from Dr. Harry Goldberg, a forensic and clinical psychologist who specializes in civil and criminal matters including sexual offenders, Judge Megan Wagner denied the placement of Rhoden into Twentynine Palms, citing three specific reasons.
First, law enforcement resources in the area were said to be “few and far between,” and Judge Wagner expressed concerns over response time in the event that Rhoden broke the allowed property perimeter.
Second, three young females matching the demographic of Rhoden’s past victims live within that same 140 foot radius.
And third, a nearby vacation rental home brings concerns of potential young women who would unknowingly be near Rhoden.
Judge Wagner noted that the decision was not based on nearby schools or school bus stops and ordered additional properties to be investigated in Orange County and potentially Los Angeles County.