The new rules put in place by District Attorney George Gascon continue to frustrate and amaze crime victims and some deputy DA’s working for him. This latest example of how the new rules play out in real life is one of the worst.
In 2004, Ruben Beltran was convicted of raping two young children. Fox 11 spoke to the two victims who are now adults:
“God, I was so young,” the sister said. “I was probably five or six, my parents had just been divorced when I was three or four, and [Beltran] moved in to ‘help repair the home,’ and so quickly after that, he just changed and turned into a manipulative monster.”
“He raped me,” the brother said. “The really hard part about it was I was a little boy, I didn’t have the words. The thing that’s so scary about him is he identifies the weak one he can hurt.”
The victims’ mother, Constance, describes Beltran as a monster.
“The perpetrator is a serial rapist, child rapist, he doesn’t have any preference for sex, age, race, he is a dangerous person,” she said.
Normally, the prosecutors who put Beltran in prison would attend his parole hearing and, if they believed he was an ongoing danger, could argue for his continued incarceration’s, i.e. serving his full sentence rather than being paroled. But under the new rules put in place by progressive DA George Gascon, prosecutors are not allowed to attend parole hearings. So the victims and their family are the only ones able to argue against his release.
“Somehow the responsibility is in our court to protect society, and that’s simply not how it’s supposed to work,” the brother said…
“I do not feel prepared, we are not attorneys,” Constance said. “We’re just a family, now we have to take on the role of law enforcement and take on the burden of trying to defend the community rather than the people who should be defending the community.”
I guess the idea behind this policy is to give convicts the best opportunity to be secure release without the undue influence of the DA’s office. Gascon wants to do something about “mass incarceration.” But in this case, why would you want Beltran released even one day earlier than absolutely necessary? The recidivism rate for pedophiles is between 25 and 50 percent according to this piece from the Harvard Medical School. And this page cites research showing that 40% of recidivists reoffend within one year of release. Why not use his existing sentence and the people who know the case best to keep him where he can’t hurt any more children?
Prosecutors can’t keep Ruben Beltran in prison forever but they should be able to argue that his release now is not in the interest of public safety. It’s unfortunate that crime victims in LA seem to have more common sense that the District Attorney.