What happens when the ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ lives next door

Written by
The home outside of Palmdale where Christopher Hubbart is now living. As part of his release back into the community, Hubbart, like other released SVPs, has to sign a contract with authorities. It requires him to wear a GPS bracelet, participate in regular counseling, submit to drug tests and be monitored by on-site guards. Sexually violent predators are often placed in remote areas both because of public opposition and state laws that require sex offenders to live far from schools, parks and child care centers. Since he moved into this home, Hubbart has not bee seen. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
The home outside of Palmdale where Christopher Hubbart is now living. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

In Southern California’s Antelope Valley, where suburban sprawl gives way to a high desert landscape of scrub brush and Joshua Trees, there’s a home. The dwelling, which dates to the 1950s, is small, white and unadorned. Its curtains are tightly drawn and wood planks cover some of the windows. The house is thoroughly unremarkable, but inside lives a man who is one of the most feared and loathed people in the Antelope Valley. He’s Christopher Hubbart, also known as the “Pillowcase Rapist.” In the 1970s and 80s, Hubbart was one of California’s most notorious serial rapists, breaking into homes and assaulting dozens of women, sometimes stifling their screams and cries for help by covering their mouths with a pillowcase.

After serving two prison sentences and receiving years of treatment at a state mental health hospital, Hubbart was released back into the community last month. There are thousands of convicted sex offenders in California who are either serving time in prison or out on parole, but Hubbart has a special designation. He’s what the state has labeled a sexually violent predator, or SVP, a repeat sex offender who’s compulsion to victimize is so serious it’s been diagnosed as a mental abnormality or  personality disorder. There are only 552 people in California who have been diagnosed as sexually violent predators, and only 11 of those individuals, like Hubbart, have been released back into the community.