News

Hundreds protest outside East Palo Alto home

Hundreds of East Palo Alto residents gathered in protest Wednesday night in front of the home of a sexually violent predator recently relocated to the community, protest organizer and East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica said.

Abrica estimated a couple hundred people gathered in front of the home at 903 Beech St. where Donald Robinson, 57, who was convicted of multiple felony sexual assaults in Santa Clara County between 1970 and 1984, moved in last week.

Robinson was eligible for parole in 1997, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office. However, he remained at a state mental hospital to receive treatment under a state program designed to decrease the likelihood of repeat offenses among sexually violent predators.

A judge ordered Robinson to be placed in the Beech Street home and to continue his treatment under heavy surveillance and intense restrictions. Robinson's arrival on Thursday prompted a small protest that night.

Abrica said Robinson is one of only 17 people in the state in this type of community treatment situation.

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The mayor said he led a peaceful protest Wednesday evening, asking the judge who ordered Robinson's relocation to move him outside of the city, to a less populated area.

"It was a very family-oriented, peaceful demonstration," Abrica said. "We're asking the judge to reconsider and take him out of the community."

Capt. Carl Estelle said about 10 officers monitored the protest and created a safety zone to make sure no demonstrators went onto the property.

"It was very peaceful and done correctly," Estelle said of the protest.

Abrica has said City Council members, county officials, police and community members are all "on the same page" on the issue.

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The city distributed notices last week alerting residents of Robinson's impending arrival, and held a public meeting to provide details. Dozens of people turned out with questions, and residents said a small crowd gathered the following evening outside the home where Robinson remains under 24-hour surveillance.

Abrica said Santa Clara County Judge Alfonso Fernandez made a "grave error" in relocating Robinson to East Palo Alto. According to Abrica, Robinson's court-selected residence is within walking distance of a day care center, two churches, an elementary school and a high school. City and county officials lodged their formal objection in court last month, before the decision was made, he said.

Fernandez is "ethically prohibited" from commenting on the matter, according to Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesman Carl Schulhof.

"He indicated to me that his order is his order and it's in effect and he couldn't say anything about it," he said.

Fernandez has ordered transcripts from the last three court hearings on Robinson's case to be added to the case file, Schulhof said. This makes it easier for interested parties to review the process leading up to the decision to place Robinson in East Palo Alto, he said.

"If anyone wants to take a look at them and get an idea of the process that occurred in coming to this decision, they're there and they're available," Schulhof said.

The court, along with representatives from the state Department of Mental Health, examined 1,100 potential homes for Robinson before selecting the East Palo Alto residence, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.

State law requires that Robinson receive his community-based treatment in San Mateo County, since he lived there at the time of his last conviction. Robinson lived in East Palo Alto at the time and has family there, according to the district attorney's office.

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Hundreds protest outside East Palo Alto home

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 3, 2009, 9:09 am

Hundreds of East Palo Alto residents gathered in protest Wednesday night in front of the home of a sexually violent predator recently relocated to the community, protest organizer and East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica said.

Abrica estimated a couple hundred people gathered in front of the home at 903 Beech St. where Donald Robinson, 57, who was convicted of multiple felony sexual assaults in Santa Clara County between 1970 and 1984, moved in last week.

Robinson was eligible for parole in 1997, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office. However, he remained at a state mental hospital to receive treatment under a state program designed to decrease the likelihood of repeat offenses among sexually violent predators.

A judge ordered Robinson to be placed in the Beech Street home and to continue his treatment under heavy surveillance and intense restrictions. Robinson's arrival on Thursday prompted a small protest that night.

Abrica said Robinson is one of only 17 people in the state in this type of community treatment situation.

The mayor said he led a peaceful protest Wednesday evening, asking the judge who ordered Robinson's relocation to move him outside of the city, to a less populated area.

"It was a very family-oriented, peaceful demonstration," Abrica said. "We're asking the judge to reconsider and take him out of the community."

Capt. Carl Estelle said about 10 officers monitored the protest and created a safety zone to make sure no demonstrators went onto the property.

"It was very peaceful and done correctly," Estelle said of the protest.

Abrica has said City Council members, county officials, police and community members are all "on the same page" on the issue.

The city distributed notices last week alerting residents of Robinson's impending arrival, and held a public meeting to provide details. Dozens of people turned out with questions, and residents said a small crowd gathered the following evening outside the home where Robinson remains under 24-hour surveillance.

Abrica said Santa Clara County Judge Alfonso Fernandez made a "grave error" in relocating Robinson to East Palo Alto. According to Abrica, Robinson's court-selected residence is within walking distance of a day care center, two churches, an elementary school and a high school. City and county officials lodged their formal objection in court last month, before the decision was made, he said.

Fernandez is "ethically prohibited" from commenting on the matter, according to Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesman Carl Schulhof.

"He indicated to me that his order is his order and it's in effect and he couldn't say anything about it," he said.

Fernandez has ordered transcripts from the last three court hearings on Robinson's case to be added to the case file, Schulhof said. This makes it easier for interested parties to review the process leading up to the decision to place Robinson in East Palo Alto, he said.

"If anyone wants to take a look at them and get an idea of the process that occurred in coming to this decision, they're there and they're available," Schulhof said.

The court, along with representatives from the state Department of Mental Health, examined 1,100 potential homes for Robinson before selecting the East Palo Alto residence, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.

State law requires that Robinson receive his community-based treatment in San Mateo County, since he lived there at the time of his last conviction. Robinson lived in East Palo Alto at the time and has family there, according to the district attorney's office.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Ken Kaufman
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:23 am
Ken Kaufman, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:23 am

Oh my! Imagine all the closets out there protesting - throwing stones. My Protestant pastor father - now up there - would be horrified. He used to say, it's not the number of people one brings to the faith that counts, it is the number one turns away.

Do, please, go home and look in your own mirror!


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:37 am
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

Ken, are you suggesting that there were a number of sexually violent predators at the protest? And where is the "up there" where your pastor father is now?


move him out of there!
Downtown North
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm
move him out of there!, Downtown North
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

We support the protest!

Move the sexually violent predator out of East Palo Alto, move him out of this area now!!


June
Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm
June, Crescent Park
on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm

"Robinson is one of only 17 people in the state in this type of community treatment situation"

This is very scary and he is obviously a very high risk predator. I don't blame EPA for protesting. All the outlying communities have to be fearful not just EPA.


Sittingduck
another community
on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:32 am
Sittingduck, another community
on Sep 4, 2009 at 9:32 am

Why is an offender like that EVER released anywhere? Send him back to prison and protect people everywhere.


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Our legislators learned nothing from Singleton or Ellie Nesler. Perhaps these guys should be released to the care of the guys who wrote the defective laws.


Cynthia
East Palo Alto
on Sep 9, 2009 at 1:12 am
Cynthia, East Palo Alto
on Sep 9, 2009 at 1:12 am

I agree with every post on here except for one. Very good points. I must add that I ran into this protest on the way to run an errand, and I stopped to ask the police what was going on-they looked at me like I was crazy with a stupid smirk on their faces (I found that odd, and they wonder why no one likes or respects them), anyway, this guy and older lady begin yelling to me about the violent predator living here, my question to them was "what about the other 50 that are already here"? They've been posted on Megan's Law for the longest. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

My point is that there have been many predators in EPA according to "Megan's Law", but obviously a lot of people don't know or don't care and are focusing on getting rid of just one, because the new Mayor says so!


carlos
East Palo Alto
on Sep 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm
carlos, East Palo Alto
on Sep 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Ok so there are several "sex offenders" In East Plao Alto not Predetors, he is one of 17 in california for your information Cynthia.
You need to read some more about, what legal terms mean.

Read what a sex ofender is and a Violent Sex predator,as this is a legal term to define a person not a regular sex ofender please.


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