General Crime

East Palo Alto Mayor Mayor Ruben Abrica Leads a Protest Outside the Home of Sexually Violent Predator Donald Robinson

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The uproar over the arrival of a sexually violent predator who recently relocated to East Palo Alto will continue tonight with a protest in front of the man’s home led by city officials. Donald Robinson, 57, was convicted of multiple felony sexual assaults in Santa Clara County between 1970 and 1984, East Palo Alto police said.  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 a home at 903 Beech St. in East Palo Alto to continue his treatment under heavy surveillance and intense restrictions. Robinson’s arrival on Thursday prompted a small protest that night.  Mayor Ruben Abrica said Robinson is one of only 17 people in the state in this type of community treatment situation. He plans to lead a peaceful protest this evening, asking the judge who ordered Robinson’s relocation to move him outside of the city, to a less populated area.  City Council members, county officials, police and community members are all “on the same page” on the issue, Abrica said. “We’re all really focusing on letting the judge know that he needs to remove Mr. Robinson immediately.”  Abrica and Vice Mayor David Woods will hold a news conference on the matter at East Palo Alto City Hall, 2415 University Ave., at 4 p.m. today. At 6 p.m. they will lead a community protest outside Robinson’s home. 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. Police have done some extra patrols near Robinson’s house, where he is under 24-hour surveillance by an employee of Liberty Healthcare, the private contractor hired to oversee his release. Capt. Carl Estelle said no problems have been reported in
connection with Robinson’s arrival, aside from a few small protests.  “In our opinion everything has been done peacefully thus far,” he said of the demonstrations.  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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