The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is raising the alarm after the California Board of Parole Hearings agreed to release a convicted rapist after serving 29 years of his 170-year sentence.
Cody Woodsen Klemp, 67, was convicted in 1994 of 40 felonies involving the repeated rape of his 14-year-old niece, who was placed in his care despite previous rape convictions, the D.A.’s Office says.
The child eventually escaped Klemp’s home in Moreno Valley and informed her therapist of her abuse, which led to a criminal investigation.
Klemp, who was in custody on domestic violence charges at the time, was then charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse.
He was sentenced to 170 years in prison, but is eligible for parole due to his age and time served as part of the Elderly Parole Program.
The program allows special consideration be given to an inmate’s age, time served or diminished physical condition when determining if they are likely to commit additional violent crimes in the future.
Klemp, who has previous rape convictions in 1976 and 1981, was determined to be suitable for parole due to his age, marketable skills and “low risk for violence.”
The D.A.’s Office said he could be released from prison by March 2024 unless the Parole Board reverses its decision.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin called the decision by the Parole Board a “devastating blow to victims.”
“Although this practice of early release is far from unusual these days, considering the inmate’s particularly violent criminal history, and admissions to the parole board itself, it is shocking that such a release would be considered,” Hestrin said in a news release.
Hestrin added that the D.A.’s Office plans to appeal the decision and will write to California Governor Gavin Newsom to request a hearing to reconsider Klemp’s release.