Prosecutors in Los Angeles County are barred from attending an upcoming parole hearing to oppose the release of a serial child rapist as part of a series of controversial reforms implemented by District Attorney George Gascon.
Ruben Beltran was convicted for the sexual assault of a girl, 6, and an 8-year-old boy. The pair are brother and sister, KTTV-TV, the Fox-owned station in Los Angeles reported. He has been imprisoned since 2004.
Beltran was a friend of the family, according to reports.
“God, I was so young,” the sister told the news station. “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.”
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“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.”
Gascon’s office declined to comment on the matter.
The mother of the victims, who are now adults, said she was shocked when she got a letter saying the prosecutor in the case will not be allowed to attend the March 11 hearing. The family will have the option to argue for Beltran’s continued imprisonment on their own.
“I do not feel prepared, we are not attorneys,” the children’s mother told KTTV, “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.”
The family is concerned about Beltran being released and the potential that he could strike again.
“It doesn’t sound like he’s the type of man who would be paroled, but he’s an actor, and he’s a sociopath,” the sister said.
On Thursday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger penned a letter to the state Board of Parole Hearings asking the panel to deny Beltran’s parole request. In a separate letter to Gascon, a former Los Angeles police officer and San Francisco district attorney, Barger said his directives have “created confusion regarding victims representation and negatively impacted many within our survivor population.”
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Gascon has faced a backlash from victims’ rights advocates, law enforcement officials and other prosectors. District attorneys in San Diego and Sacramento counties have written him to rail against his progressive policies, which include ending cash bail for certain crimes and sentencing enhancements.