A dangerous sex offender recently released from a state mental hospital after more than 20 years of forced hospitalization for threatening to rape, torture, and murder young boys will once again be required to register as a sex offender.
On July 14, 2020, District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Board of Supervisors Chair Michelle Steel issued a community warning regarding the impending release of convicted sex offender Cary Jay Smith from a state mental hospital following more than 20 years of forced commitment. Spitzer and Steel also asked Governor Gavin Newsom to reinstate a lifetime sex registrant requirement on Smith. In 2005, the state Department of Justice issued a letter stating Smith no longer had to register as a sex offender.
Late this afternoon [July 24, 2020], the Orange County District Attorney’s Office received notice from the state Attorney General’s Office that it agrees with OCDA that Smith be required to register as a 290 sex offender under California state law. The registration requirement allows members of the public to access information about him on California’s Megan’s Law website located at www.meganslaw.ca.gov
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is working with other agencies to ensure Smith is properly registered once again as a 290 sex offender registrant.
“We want to thank state Attorney General Xavier Becerra for taking the legal steps to protect our residents and we want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for referring our letter to the state attorney general and listening to our concerns,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “From the second I learned that this dangerous predator was being released back on to our communities without any restrictions or supervision, I directed the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to do everything we could to ensure our residents had the information they needed to protect their children. Not only was this predator who has all but guaranteed he will hurt our children released, he was released without the very restrictions we fought so hard to have imposed to allow residents to protect themselves and their children from exactly these kinds of sexual predators. Instead he was allowed to move around freely without any restriction on where he lived, what he did, or who he came in contact with. Today, the children of Orange County and all of California are safer as a result of these restrictions once again being imposed.”
Smith, 59, was sent to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino in 1999 on a 72-hour psychiatric hold after his wife provided a psychiatrist with a letter in which Smith described sex acts he wanted to perform on a 7-year-old boy who lived in his Costa Mesa neighborhood. Smith has repeatedly testified that he fantasizes about raping and then killing young boys in order to avoid being identified. He claims that he has killed three boys and molested 200. He prefers to go by the name Mr. RTK, which stands for rape, torture, kill.
Smith, who has ties to Orange County, has been under 24-hour police surveillance since he was released on July 14, 2020. Since his release he has moved around Orange, San Diego, and Riverside counties, prompting outcries from the public.
Beginning in 1999, Smith has been held by the state under a section of the state’s Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) as a result of a series of civil trials which have determined that he presents a “demonstrated danger of inflicting substantial physical harm” to children. Under WIC 5300, Smith is allowed a new trial every six months to demonstrate that he is no longer a danger to society.
Psychologists have testified over the years that Smith posed an imminent danger and County Counsel has argued to keep Smith confined. The state hospital did not renew the 5300 hold against Smith, allowing it to expire on Saturday, July 11, 2020.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which is not a party to the civil hold on Smith, filed 20 felony counts of a lewd and lascivious act with a minor against Smith in 2002, but prosecutors were forced to dismiss those charges due to the statute of limitations of the law at the time.
In 1984, Smith pleaded guilty to a 1983 misdemeanor of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18, a conviction which triggered a lifetime sex offender registration requirement.
He also pleaded guilty to a 1985 misdemeanor sexual offense of soliciting lewd conduct from a minor and was again required to register as a sex offender for life. That registration requirement was removed in 2005 by the state as a result of a change in the statute governing that lifetime registration.
It remains unclear why Smith was not required to register as a sex offender under the 1984 conviction when he was released from the state mental hospital.
The article above was released by the Orange County District Attorney.