‘Unacceptable’: Los Angeles Progressive Prosecutor Is Ignoring a Sex Crime Crisis, According to Internal Memo 

Sex assault cases doubled in Los Angeles under George Gascón’s policies

George Gascón (Getty Images)
February 15, 2023

A progressive California district attorney is ignoring how his policies have let cases involving child sex crimes, domestic violence, and sexual assault double on his watch, according to members of his office.

Valerie Cole, a prosecutor for Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón (D.), warned last year in an internal memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon that their office was fielding "more than twice as many" such cases than normal with a dwindling number of staff. Cole warns that the district attorney’s office will continue to suffer a "loss of reputation" if cases involving such victims are not handled carefully.

The contents of the memo, which the Free Beacon is the first to report, did not leak during last summer's recall campaign against Gascón. But Cole's warnings have resonated among frustrated staffers, according to prosecutors in the office who say Gascón has yet to heed the memo’s warning—or acknowledge how his policies enabled the rise in crimes.

"What started as isolated shortages due to mismanagement and a slew of additional responsibilities that stem from new laws and policies has spread to negatively impact most of our operations," said John McKinney, a Los Angeles deputy district attorney. "There is a culture of chaos among Gascón’s upper management starting with Gascón himself and trickling down to infect what used to be a highly efficient operation."

The same could be said of many reform-minded prosecutors boosted by the liberal billionaire George Soros, including embattled Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.) and Chicago state’s attorney Kim Foxx (D.). All received millions in donations from Soros while pledging to end "mass incarceration" through sentencing reductions. The result has often led to soaring violent crime rates and higher rates of recidivism.

Some of Gascón’s prosecutors say those very reforms are contributing to the increase in cases. Once-routine charges involving firearms and juvenile crimes are no longer left to the discretion of deputies and now require more paperwork and multiple requests for approval by superiors. Moreover, staff who don’t comply may face professional repercussions.

Career prosecutors like McKinney and John Lewin claim Gascón demoted them after they publicly disagreed with his policy guidelines that reduced sentences for rapists and murderers, the Daily Mail reported. A senior sex crimes prosecutor, Jodi Link, also said she was demoted after she spoke out. At least seven lawsuits were filed in 2022 against Gascón over his retaliatory behavior toward prosecutors.

One prosecutor who spoke with the Free Beacon on the condition of anonymity said Gascón told county defense attorneys to inform his office whenever prosecutors are not following his policies. "Even if we’re following the law" while ignoring the policies, the prosecutor said, Gascón wants to "know so that the administration can take action against us."

More than 120 prosecutors have left since Gascón took office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The mass exodus followed a number of botched prosecutions. Gascón landed in hot water in May 2022 after he went easy on a transgender pedophile who molested a 10-year-old girl in a restaurant bathroom. He slapped the offender, "Hannah" Tubbs, who was 17 years old at the time of the assault, with two years of probation. Tubbs was charged just months later with an unrelated murder and is currently being held on $1 million bail.

The decision not to try Tubbs as an adult is one of many "reforms" Gascón has imposed after taking office. Gascón last year reversed course on his policy to not try any juvenile criminals as adults but still forces all juvenile criminal charges to be approved first by committees. He did not respond to a request for comment.

The memo obtained by the Free Beacon showed a sharp decrease in staffing at "almost every" one of the units designated to handle "crimes against elders, child physical and sexual abuse, hate crimes, sexual assaults, stalking, and intimate partner violence." The staffing crisis at the so-called Victim Impact Program posed an "unacceptable risk to public safety," Cole said.

Gascón’s opponents are still engaged in a court battle with the prosecutor after a recall campaign petition failed last summer. The recall organizers sued the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office in October for discarding what they said were enough valid signatures to trigger a special election. In December, a Los Angeles judge granted the group access to the signature-verification process, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.