Transgender California inmate sentenced to juvenile detention after molesting girl could only face 6 months

Tubbs, 26, recently pleaded guilty to molesting the girl in a women's bathroom eight years ago when Tubbs was two weeks away from turning 18

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A Los Angeles County judge on Jan. 27 ordered Hannah Tubbs, a male-to-female transgender Californian, to serve two years in a juvenile detention facility after Tubbs pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in 2014 — but it's possible Tubbs could only face six months.

Tubbs, 26, recently pleaded guilty to molesting the girl in a women's bathroom eight years ago when Tubbs was two weeks away from turning 18. At the time of the crime, Tubbs identified as male and went by James. Tubbs did not identify as female until being taken into custody, according to prosecutors.

"Hannah Tubbs is currently housed in county jail. It is my understanding that she will soon be transferred to Sylmar Juvenile Hall," Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, assigned to the Complex Child Abuse Unit, told Fox News Digital. 

Hannah Tubbs, formerly James Tubbs

Hannah Tubbs, formerly James Tubbs

Prosecutors say Tubbs walked into the bathroom of a Denny’s in 2014 and grabbed the 10-year-old by the throat, locked her in a stall, and put a hand down the girl’s pants. Tubbs stopped when another person walked into the restroom and fled, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Because Tubbs began identifying as female after being taken into custody, and L.A. District Attorney George Gascon refused to try Tubbs as an adult, the assailant was sentenced to two years in a Secure Youth Treatment Facility (SYTF), though Tubbs would be separated from other juvenile inmates at the facility.

In L.A. County, juvenile facilities can house both females and males, but in separate areas, because there are no male or female SYTF facilities in L.A. County. Therefore, Tubbs will be housed with the females in isolation.

Two years is the maximum sentence for any juvenile in the new SYTF program over the age of 25, according to Deputy District Attorney Shea Sanna.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference, December 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference, December 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Additionally, L.A. courts must hold quarterly progress reviews for juvenile wards. After the first two reviews, a judge can determine whether a ward is eligible to be released or serve a reduced sentence based on good behavior.

Sanna confirmed to Fox News that Tubbs could be eligible for a release or a sentencing reduction after his second quarterly progress review if the court makes such a determination.

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"So after six months in custody, Tubbs would be eligible for a reduction in time or release" on good behavior, he explained.

While Sanna finds it "highly unlikely" that an early release would happen in Tubbs' case, "it is possible" because the point of the new juvenile detention program is rehabilitation and the best interest of minor wards.

Hatami noted that Tubbs' defense "has also indicated that they will file a motion to have Tubbs removed from juvenile ‘isolation’ because it is a violation of the Constitution. However, that motion has not been filed yet."

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He also explained that Gov. Gavin Newsom "placed the full responsibility of housing juveniles who commit violent crimes onto the individual counties" in California about a year ago. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom responds to a question while meeting with reporters after casting his recall ballot at a voting center in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom responds to a question while meeting with reporters after casting his recall ballot at a voting center in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

"This was done with limited guidance and no concerns for public safety," Hatami said. "It was another ‘progressive policy’ termed a ‘reform.’ Currently, there [are] no male or female SYTF facilities in the county of Los Angeles at all. Even the locations for these facilities have not been finalized. So, as of right now, Tubbs will eventually be housed at Sylmar Juvenile Hall" after some time in county jail, Hatami said.

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The case highlights issues "with having a blanket policy against transferring juveniles who commit violent crimes to adult court," he explained.

"Under George Gascon’s ‘reforms,’ a 26-year-old admitted child molester is being housed with juveniles," Hatami said. "She may be released early, back into the community, with no sex registration.  Only innocent victims and the public suffer because of George Gascón’s so-called ‘progress.’"

Fox News' Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.