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.