A 26-year-old transgender woman who, at age 17, sexually assaulted a child will serve a two-year sentence in a juvenile facility rather than a jail for adults, a judge ruled Thursday.

The case of Hannah Tubbs, who has admitted sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in 2014 in the bathroom of a Denny’s restaurant in Palmdale, has thrown a spotlight on Los Angeles County Dist. Atty George Gascón’s refusal to seek the transfer of juvenile defendants to adult court. Gascón has argued that the brains of juveniles aren’t fully developed and that the proper setting to rehabilitate people who commit crimes while underage is a juvenile treatment facility.

Although Tubbs committed the sexual assault in 2014, she was not arrested and charged with the crime until January 2021, when Gascón was in office. In the interim, she had been arrested for battery, drug possession and probation violations in Idaho and Washington and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Kern County, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials. She was also arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor but wasn’t prosecuted for the alleged offense, according to court records.

In November, Tubbs admitted sexually assaulting the 10-year-old girl, an attack that law enforcement officials said stopped only when someone else walked into the bathroom. Prosecutors, however, never filed a motion seeking to transfer her case to adult court, where she could have faced a longer sentence that would be served in a prison or jail that houses adults.

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